Britney, the Vaults – Review



Charlie Chaplin once said: “Life is a tragedy when seen in close-up, but a comedy in long-shot.” Charly Clive and Ellen Robertson have taken this maxim to heart and devised a semi-autobiographical show about Charly’s own brush with mortality. After a recent discovery of a brain tumour, it was thankfully caught early enough. Treated commenced and now Clive has a clean bill of health. Underpinning the show is Clive and Robertson’s friendship – the source of many amusing insights and their natural chemistry together.

The show itself is punctuated by short sketches, some inspired by actual events, others of a more surreal nature. I’ve always been partial to ‘dry’ comedy that’s intelligent and insightful, and Britney fits this description to a T.  Robertson and Clive are clearly comfortable with the material and each other, and their enjoyment of performing the show is infectious (no pun intended)!

Originally performed in Edinburgh last year, another show there (Goodstock) also used a personal, female perspective on cancer as a catalyst for a show, on what is widely regarded as a taboo subject. Must be something in the zeitgeist – great to see such innovative and personal female-led shows in any case. Britney distinguishes itself by using humour to broach the many things that mortality forces us to face and lessens its sting. Proof that with the right approach and performers, even the prospect of a terminal illness can be life-affirming in the long-run.

© Michael Davis 2017

Britney runs at the Vaults, London until 29th January 2017.


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