Beth Vyse as Olive Hands in the Hand that Rocked the Cradle
Beth Vyse returns with her long-standing role as Olive Hands, in one of the wackiest shows you are likely to see at this year’s Vault Festival.
A large inflatable hand and balloon telephone are on stage, while the audience are prompted to use fly swatters left on their seats, each time the word Hands is mentioned. Though intended to be funny, it only interrupts the flow of the show. Vyse enters with a teetering headpiece, a foot protruding from her nether regions. This is her impersonation of Paddy McGuiness, one of many television personalities she satirises, while attempting to regain popularity on daytime television. As a baby doll swings down a line hanging from the ceiling, Olive’s assistant Clap Hands appears with Henry (Tiny Hands), Vyse’s child. The actress clearly likes to interact with her audience, one of the first of whom is cajoled onto the stage, with a blonde wig and plastic breasts placed across his chest. The comic effect initially misses the mark, as the participant doesn’t understand Vyse’s jokes, but when his face is painted on during the 60 Second Sass Over segment, he gets down on all fours, purring, doing a good job in the farcical role.
There are scenes of Vyse’s real-life appearance on A Touch of Frost on the screen; a tape measure is edited into the show, which Olive uses every time she is anxious. The actress relies heavily on vulgar jokes, selecting an unwitting woman from the audience, saying, “When I had my baby, my vagina was shot to shit”. Following on from this, the comic illustrates making a silent baby mobile with a vibrator, placing the object under the seat of the man on stage to see if it will get him to sleep, making the audience laugh hysterically. After demonstrating how to make slippers with sanitary pads, the comedian takes it a little far when eating brown-coloured food from nappies, gagging all the while, the crowd squirming in disgust.
There is no direct narrative here, so it is really up to the audience to connect the dots, if any exist. Note: this show is not related in the slightest to the 1992 film of the same name.
Beth Vyse was at the Network Theatre on 9th February 2019.
Read more reviews from our Vault Festival 2019 coverage here.
For further information about the event visit the Vault Festival website here.