The Eulogy Of Toby Peach
Cancer survival tale stranded between comedy and drama
This article is from 2015.
Toby Peach had cancer. Diagnosed aged 20, this is his tale of how he joined the exclusive Cancer Club and what exactly that meant for him. Six years later, he's delivering his eulogy, using everything from chemotherapy cocktail mixing and funeral playlists, to facts, figures, relapse and remission to tell his story.
Energetic and interesting, Toby delivers the facts among a barrage of anecdotes, jokes and songs. It's easy to forget among the laughter and jollity that underneath is a serious story about one man's battle with a deadly disease.
It's difficult to decide whether this is meant to be taken as a drama or a comedy, there are plenty of laughs and the sketches are clearly meant to lighten the seriousness of Toby’s story. But the comedy is hammy and overacted, and melodrama outweighs the real drama, with a couple of beautifully poignant moments lost among the raucousness of the rest.
Hats off to Toby for taking a topic like cancer and making it approachable to people, many of whom will know the word but not the horrific way it can eat into a life. His energy does a good job of lifting the spirits, but a little more emphasis on the more reflective moments would have made it far more impressive.
Underbelly Cowgate, 0844 545 8252, until 30 Aug (not 17), 2.50pm, £10–£11 (£9–£10).