Paul Mayhew-Archer: Incurable Optimist (3 stars)

This article is from 2018

Paul Mayhew-Archer: Incurable Optimist

Education and entertainment meet in this upbeat and optimistic show

A firm proponent of the therapeutic power of comedy, Paul Mayhew-Archer chose not to close himself off when he was diagnosed with Parkinson's and has instead launched a new career for himself as a stand-up. This comedy writer was involved with the likes of mainstream BBC smash hits such as The Vicar of Dibley and Mrs Brown's Boys as well as a host of radio work and ITV's Spitting Image.

Providing an hour of education as well as entertainment (he informs us of the various ways in which Parkinson's manifests itself on the human body), Mayhew-Archer was destined for the writing game when he won a poetry competition at the age of eight. With such a long career in TV comedy behind him, the least you'd expect here is a collection of anecdotes about some famous folk and he doesn't disappoint with amusing memories of Dawn French and David Jason.

But his life with Parkinson's forms the bulk of this hour and he offers a handy memory test which should reassure or be a wake-up call to the audience. Incurable Optimist is a show that both enlightens and amuses, and acts as nothing less than a moving tribute to the human spirit.

Underbelly Bristo Square, until 26 Aug, 5.15pm, £9–£10 (£8–£9).

Paul Mayhew-Archer: Incurable Optimist

Debut stand-up hour from the multi award-winning co-writer of The Vicar of Dibley.