ANDRE VINCENT IS UNWELL
Gilded Balloon Teviot, Edinburgh
August, 2002

*** Comedy about cancer? Surprisingly, it works.

Earlier this year, Vincent was diagnosed with operable cancer of the kidney. As a working comedian, he used it for material. And it's funny.

It sort of circumvents worries about bad taste that he's describing his own experiences, and being thoroughly candid at every stage he even shows us a three-minute video of the operation itself (with the anaesthetist serving as cameraman), which is quite genuine. Not for the squeamish, then. But Vincent is an essentially cuddly performer, and what he principally shares with us are the absurdities of various aspects of the history, from the moment he first passed blood "It wasn't fun for the other swimmers either" to the ludicrous arrangements at the sperm bank (in case he should be rendered infertile by chemotherapy) and the school-playground hierarchy of patients on cancer wards.

He rightly scorns all notions of "bravery", saying he was just unlucky. He's just engaging in his natural fondness for having a bit of a laugh, right up to the life-size "Operation" game prop which he brings on for the sake of two lines. He's refusing to read the results of his latest biopsy till after the show's run ends. Here's hoping: he deserves a good few chuckles yet.

Written for divento.com

Copyright © Ian Shuttleworth; all rights reserved.

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