Breast cancer journey inspires comedian’s No More Stage Three

Alistair Barrie. Picture: Andrew Ritchie d449360
Alistair Barrie. Picture: Andrew Ritchie d449360

UK topical comedian Alistair Barrie was planning to write a new comedy show about how miserable world news was every time he turned on the television when his wife Emily was diagnosed with breast cancer in January 2015.

It gave him personal perspective of what constitutes ‘bad news’, so he wrote No More Stage Three about the year the couple spent together during Emily’s treatment, which he is currently performing during Fringe World at The Brass Monkey’s Red Room.

“I don’t think I ever said ‘I’m going to do a show about this’, and us mutually agreeing isn’t quite the right phrase, but she asked me if I was going to write something about it and I said ‘yeah’,” Barrie said.

“It’s not really a topic you can easily toss into a Saturday night club set so it needed the concentration of a proper festival show.

“I worked very hard to get it right for Edinburgh where it premiered last August, but at that stage she’d just finished chemotherapy and hadn’t had the surgery.

“Now she’s had the surgery, radiotherapy and is almost at the end of her treatment and it feels like the show is a bit more rounded.”

Barrie said they both took photos during each stage and he wrote around them, talking about what happened and how they each reacted.

“She’s my wife so we’d have a good laugh together, and if you happen to be married to a comedian, you’ll find a good laugh helps pay the mortgage,” he said.

“This is kind of the message of the show as well, in that if you’re not laughing, cancer just goes on and on from diagnosis to treatment; although we’re very lucky because her treatment so far has only taken a year.

“Of course there’s been ups and downs with horrible times, but Emily has been amazing and just got on with it and if the person with the cancer is just getting on with it then you get on with it too. And then you’re there when there’s a shoulder needed to cry on.”

Barrie donated 10 per cent of his Edinburgh show profits to UK charity Breast Cancer Now and is doing the same with his Perth shows for Breast Cancer Institute of Australia.

“The way things are going with ticket sales, I should be able to make a decent donation,” he said.

THE ESSENTIALS

What: No More Stage Three

Where: The Brass Monkey – Red Room, Northbridge

When: until February 21

Tickets: www.fringeworld.com.au