Clinically Famous is a one woman show that tells the story of a soap star actress, played by Natalie Haverstock, whose onscreen character’s downfall runs parallel with the destruction of her real life . Infact things have got so bad she’s checked into The Priory suffering from agitated depression.
I hadn’t planned to see this show at the Balcony inside the Gilded Balloon Teviot, but tickets were available on Monday for just Â£3 from the Half Price Hut, with the venue and time matching my requirements for a cheap show. The venue was half full and must surely be one of the worst at this year’s Edinburgh Festival Fringe, with no natural light or ventilation creating a room that’s way too hot; a fan did nothing more than circulate warm air. Also noise is evident from other shows throughout.
The whole show takes place in Beverley’s room at The Priory where she spends 50 minutes describing how she came to be here and how the public, sometimes herself, blurred the lines of fiction and reality i.e. she went from being the nation’s soap sweet-heart with the national tabloid even running a name her soap baby competition, to a complete super bitch who everyone hated (in the show and in the street).
The tightly written, often quirky material is delivered competently and without hesitation, even amusingly at times e.g. when the character single-handedly re-enacts some of her most famous scenes from the soap - the incident with crisps, car and her husband’s dog raised most chortles. Perhaps a slight criticism would be the material was often over enunciated by the actress. However I was able to follow events clearly enough.
The main problem was I didn’t feel any emotional connection with the soap star and struggled to connect with her plight. Maybe this is because I was able to instantly identify the concept of the script given today’s reality-TV, celebrity-obsessed world, and it just wasn’t enough to enthrall me. It’s a story that any media viewing person would have heard a thousand times before. I didn’t learn anything new here; such as why persons like Beverley end up in The Priory. It’s all too obvious - just read The Sun or News Of The World. So apart from a few interesting anecdotes and facts about The Priory itself, I came out of Clinically Famous with little more than I went in with. We all know that in the age of celebrity, many struggle to separate a persons on-screen character from their real life persona, and more often than not it ends in emotional hell.
Clinically Famous runs at the Balcony venue inside the Gilded Balloon Teviot until the 28th August 2006 at 1745. Tickets cost Â£8 or Â£9 depending on night, or you can try the half price hut by Princes Mall like The Edinburgh Blog.