No Turn Unstoned gives you no idea what to expect from Beth Vyse’s show. As we come in, we see a montage of doctored slides with her in the company of the famous – Doris Day, Frank Sinatra, Elvis. She then makes her entrance declaiming Othello’s speech before murdering Desdemona, ‘Put out the lights’, while suffering agonising period cramps.
Her character, Dame Betsy Lynn, has, we are told, 55 minutes to live. She is giving her final performance in the form of an autobiographical reminiscence. There are lots of Lynn jokes at the start – her father is Neville Chamber Lynn, her mother Anne Bo, her sisters Vera (obviously) and Vio. It then develops into a series of sketches encompassing, among other things, her childhood as a boy and an infatuation with a blind boy who wins China’s Got Talent. This leads to a sex change because she doesn’t want to be gay (some homophobia here?). Her career as an actress leads us into a ghastly Australian children’s show called Tony and Wanga; we as children are invited to feel his wanga to make it stand up. You get the flavour.
The show is in extreme bad taste, very bawdy and none the worse for that. The problem is that the sketches lack punch lines and are only sporadically successful. When they are good they are very very good, as in a Blue Peter-type demonstration of what to make with unused sanitary pads.
As a performer Vyse has picked up a lot of Julie Walters mannerisms; she is at her best with a kind of steely throwaway delivery. She takes no prisoners and has a lot going for her. It’s a shame that she doesn’t follow through the premise of the show, because I was really hoping for a Lynncineration at the end.