"Whatever happened to Shane Ritchie?" Idle chit-chat with Beth Vyse

Having fought off cancer Beth Vyse chose an easier life; to have a baby and continue her comedy career. At the same time. We caught up with Beth to talk her new show, debuting at the Fringe, and her alter-ego, Olive Hands.

Hey Beth, how the devil are you?

I’m OK, obv’s stressed about Edinburgh.

What have you been up to today?

Today: I got up at 5.30 (being woken by my baby) and after that I’ve been directing Twelfth Night at LAMDA

So, you don’t have a website. In this day and age. What’re you thinking?

Well I don’t have any time or technical ability to make one… but if you want to give it go I’d be very happy… I have done lots stuff and I’m sure it would be very interesting.

No website means no bio, so in the style and words of Olive Hands, tell us about yourself.

I’ll do Olive Hands telling you about Olive Hands.. (I’m just pretty boring)

Well without giving the whole game away here’s a bit of my opening monologue:

“Now ladies and gentleman, I'd like to tell you about myself. 3 years ago I was voted Britain’s No.2 in the morning, daytime television star

I was at my peak, dining with Pauline Quirk

Doing body shots of Katrina and the Waves, all 4 of them,

I was sailing around the Ivory Coast on Eamon Holmes' sex kayak.

BUT it all went horribly wrong when one day, due to an unfortunate horse-related incident, [horse noise] my guests didn't turn up to my show and so I found myself singing as a Chinese blind boy.

With hindsight I see that that was wrong. My show got cancelled and it sent me into a downward spiral of drinks, minks & twinks

SFX [In sequence, Olive with drinks, Olive with Minks, Olive with twinks, as Olive says Drinks, Minks, Twinks]

I was out of it, not even a diagnosis of cancer could make me see straight. I tried to capitalise on it, releasing my signature fragrance “Cancer”. What's that in the air? Cancer. Shhhh/ Cancer What's her secret? Cancer.

But then...I got better. So I had nothing.

I was dead in the Daytime TV world, no one wanted me.

Coleen Nolan sent me death threats,

Eamon Holmes crashed his sex kayak into my house.

There I was. 42, no bra with collapsed arches and I thought “what do I do now?”, I needed to get back on the telly……”

And you’ll have come and see the show if you want to know more.

Describe your comedy style.

As you see it’s taken from real life (mine and daytime TV stars) It’s stupid, surreal but with plenty of heart.

Tell us what you can about your show for the Fringe, ‘The Hand That Rocked The Cradle’ in two sentences?

Olive Hands last-ditch attempt at stardom.. but through trying to “use” her baby as a prop she actually realises that can’t fake it anymore as she has to connect with the child and everything she’d thought she’d learnt about stardom fizzles away and she realises about the important things in life, therefore without being aware of it she ultimately becomes the Greatest TV presenter of all time.

Are you actually literally having your son on stage each show? That’s gotta add a level of chaos to the performance?

Of course… Beth Vyse doesn’t do things by halves.

How many times have you been to the Fringe, and what’s your best memory?

Too many to remember, well every year since I found out I had cancer in 2010 really and favourite memory was 2016 when I discovered I was pregnant.

When was the last time you were starstruck?

Me never… no I tell a lie… I was working at the R.S.C. (she touches her pearls) and it was Christmas I got asked to read a poem for Prince Charles in a church, he was literally and arms length away from me... that was kinda strange.

Tell us a charity we should support

Cancer Research

What other comedian is worth checking out?

Lucy Pearman, Lou Sanders, Richard Gadd, Sam Lake, Tash Goldstone… the list is endless.

What’s the question we should have asked you today but haven’t?

Whatever happened to Shane Ritchie?

Finally, how do you take your coffee?

With milk and sugar….something’s gotta make this bitter old queen a bit lighter and sweeter. Boom!

Beth's show at Edinburgh Fringe Festival is on at Moneky Barrell Comedy Club at 3:45pm each day of the festival. Tickets are on sale now.

As we've already established Beth doesn't have a website, but you can see what she's up to on Twitter.

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