Beth Vyse As Olive Hands in All Hands to the Pump (2 stars)

A brash celebratory spoof of daytime TV with too few jokes to truly score

Beth Vyse As Olive Hands in All Hands to the Pump

credit: Idil Sukan

If Keith Lemon and Sam Simmons remade Noel's House Party for ITV3, it might turn out a bit like this slice of mad but fun nonsense from Beth Vyse. Unlike her stand-up hour, As Funny As Cancer, Vyse's Olive Hands is a more of a comedy play, with a couple of other comedians in tow.

Clad in leopard print, one high heel and an expletive-adorned eye mask, Olive is trying to resurrect her career as a daytime TV host by working on a cruise ship bound for her adoring fans in North Korea. When the ship goes down, we're all 'decanted' to a submarine where we're in danger of being attacked by an onboard leopard.

In the meantime, her son (Ali Brice) is trying to convince her he's not gay, as he falls in love with the daughter of Jane McDonald (in a canny nod to 1990s BBC TV doc, The Cruise), who has gone down with the ship. All of this is accompanied by a soundtrack of Ottawan's disco hit 'Hands Up', which, whether you like it or not, will stay in your head for hours.

Vyse is great at engaging the audience, and action takes place all over the bunker-like room in The Hive so everyone feels involved. It's bonkers and it's entertaining, but the jokes aren't strong enough to carry the heady, very interactive atmosphere. Don't try to follow the plot: as Vyse freely admits, it makes zero sense. That's not really the point of this brash comedy, a lively celebration of the larger-than-life types of This Morning, Loose Women and the like. It's crazy, and that's a good thing, but her set needs better jokes to be remembered for anything other than endless inanity.

Heroes at the Hive, until 28 Aug (not 16), 3.10pm, £5 or Pay What You Want.

Beth Vyse as Olive Hands in All Hands to the Pump…

  • 2 stars

Beth Vyse / Heroes of Fringe (PWYW) Beth Vyse's sassy, leopard print clad alter ego: Olive Hands (Britain's number 2 in the morning!), daytime TV wannabe resurrects her career on a cruise ship. After a terrible stint performing on land she takes to the seas, when she begins to sink. What depths will she go to to save…


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