Edinburgh Fringe Review – Liam Withnail, Chronic Boom, Monkey Barrel

Edinburgh Fringe Review – Liam Withnail: Chronic Boom
As a popular podcaster, Liam Withnail has a film of the moment his life changed forever.
One minute he is chatting with his co-host Christopher Macarthur-Boyd, the next he is staggering around the room, after being told he has to go immediately to hospital.
The video of his reaction is the way he begins his show.
After that we go through the ten days he stayed in hospital, one by one.
Withnail introduces us to a world of graphs, of measurements, of a kindly nurse who becomes part of his day.
He also details the embarrassment – of finding out he has a messy and unpredictable bowel condition – and of the practical problems that entails.
Withnail is a confident host and talented storyteller and he takes us every step of the way.
One minute he’s a seemingly healthy relatively fit young man.  The next he has a chronic illness.   It could happen to any of us.
The laughs he finds along the way come from his personality – boisterous, gregarious, and – he sheepishly lets us know – adorable.   Withnail faces up to his situation with a mixture of trepidation and courage.  Along the way he becomes a bit of an expert on the technicalities of his illness – as all invalids do.
What’s great about this story is how practical and down to earth it is in its approach to problems.  Withnail doesn’t do self-pity, or sentimentality – he just gets on with it.  And if there’s an embarrassing laugh to be found in a poo joke – Withnail finds it.
Although you might be hoping for a happy ending – there isn’t one.   Withnail’s condition is ongoing.  He’s stuck with it – and there’s not much of an upside to that – apart from privileged access to disabled toilets.
Even making this show has been difficult – but Withnail explains how he created a structure he knew he could work with, in order to tell his story.  He ends on a lovely note about hidden disabilities – and reminds us – we never truly understand what other people are dealing with.
Until August 27. Buy tickets here.
Read more reviews here.
four stars


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