Berk’s Nest Presents
Paul Mayhew-Archer: Incurable Optimist
Underbelly Bristo Square: Friesian – 1st – 26th August
“Very Funny – and moving too”
Paul Mayhew-Archer is 65 years old, he has an incurable illness and he’s about to do something he has never done before: He is about to perform a one-man comedy show at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.
But then Paul knows a bit about comedy…
He’s been writing it all his life – from puppet shows for his friends at the age of ten to The Vicar of Dibley.
He’s produced hundreds of episodes of radio comedy including I’m Sorry I Haven’t a Clue, Weekending (starring David Jason), Delve Special (starring Stephen Fry) and two award-winning shows written and performed by Andy Hamilton – The Million Pound Radio Show and Old Harry’s Game.
In 1987, Paul wrote his first sitcom for radio, An Actor’s Life For Me and it did so well that it transferred to BBC One where Richard Curtis saw it and asked Paul to work with him on a series about a woman vicar in a village full of lunatics.
Paul has also script edited many TV series including Spitting Image, Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps and Miranda, and he’s co-written episodes of My Hero, Mrs Brown’s Boys and Roald Dahl’s Esio Trot starring Dustin Hoffman and Judi Dench.
But when he was 58 and the Commissioning Editor for Radio 4 Comedy, Paul noticed that his handwriting was getting smaller and his arms weren’t moving normally when he walked.
He was diagnosed with Parkinson’s, but he didn’t think of it as the end of the world. Instead he thought of it as an opportunity for jokes which he could share with others in the same leaky boat and make them all feel better. Two years ago, he made a documentary called Parkinson’s: The Funny Side for which he won the Grierson Award for Best Documentary Presenter of the Year (he was up against Louis Theroux), last year he made his first appearance at The Comedy Store, and this year he is bringing his first solo show to the fringe.
Incurable Optimist is a show full of funny stories from a man who regards his entire life as a sitcom and Parkinson’s as just the latest episode. It’s a show about the therapeutic power of comedy and laughter from a man who simply adores making people laugh. Directed by Katie Churchill for Berk’s Nest.
Being in the same room as Paul will not give you Parkinson’s. Paul is not contagious. But he is worth catching.
Show: Paul Mayhew-Archer: Incurable Optimist
Dates: 1st to 26th August 2018 (not 13th)
Venue: Underbelly: Friesian
Address: Underbelly Bristo Square, Edinburgh, EH8 9AJ
Price: Previews: £6.50, Weekdays: £9 (£8), Weekends: £10 (£9)
Box office: www.edfringe.com / www.underbelly.co.uk