Witty, lively and often heartwarming,
At times the show takes a distinctly surreal turn, for example personifying the tumour as a community of angry, Welsh, communist miners staging a furious protest
Through a series of semi-fictionalised scenes and stories, some personal some ridiculous, Charly and Ellen tell the audience about their friendship, Charly’s diagnosis and treatment, and how the two of them coped with the situation.
The show has a well-polished, well-rehearsed feel to it which comes out as the two performers jump smoothly between an array of different and frequently absurd characters - an inappropriately jovial anaesthetist, a menacing Russian nurse, Charly’s parents, and each other, to name just a few. At times the show takes a distinctly surreal turn, for example personifying the tumour as a community of angry, Welsh, communist miners staging a furious protest. In one pleasantly ridiculous section, the doctor breaking the news of Charly’s tumour is re-imagined in different genres and film styles - first as a smokey, blue-lit film-noir, then as a scene from Harry Potter. It’s over the top, but works well with the fast-paced, sketch-like style of the production.
There are a couple of points in the show where the duo deftly allow the full weight of the subject matter to hit home to the audience, prompting poignant moments of pin-drop silence. This seriousness is used very sparingly, however, and executed with great skill so that the performers are usually able to restore the room to lively laughter moments later.
In no way held back by the gravity of its theme, this show is great fun and well-worth seeing.