Britney

Witty, lively and often heartwarming, Britney is a hilarious and hugely watchable production. The show intersperses narration and sketch-like scenes as it tells the true story of two friends, Charly Clive and Ellen Robertson, as they react and come to terms with Charly being diagnosed with a brain tumour. It’s perhaps not the most intuitive topic for an hour of Fringe comedy, but it works wonderfully well, managing to be both effortlessly lighthearted and unremittingly funny.

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. 

Reviews by Nuri Syed Corser

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Performances

Location

The Blurb

When good brains go bad. This is the very true and very funny story of two best friends coming to terms with one being diagnosed with a brain tumour. As told by a host of unlikely and occasionally fictional characters, the show is a comedy cum sketch show cum cabaret cum play cum one cum all cum to the show. Hopefully it's a reminder that sometimes laughter is the best medicine. (Ultimately the best medicine is the operation and please, if you have a brain tumour, seek urgent medical attention).