Posts Tagged ‘Rachael Spence’

It’s a long time since I’ve seen anything by the always imaginative Improbable Theatre; they appear to be moonlighting in large opera houses. Lee Simpson represents them here in a collaboration with actors Liza Hammond and Rachael Spence to produce a charming, thought-provoking piece about perceptions of, and attitudes to, disability.

The premise is that they are looking for ideas for their show, so they go onto the streets and ask the public. At first, they speak the ideas they’re given verbatim, repeating recordings they hear through earphones. Then we hear the people themselves as they act out suggested scenes. They contrast how we hail paralympians with how disabled actors are given token bit parts and the deaths caused by changes in the disability benefits system and the cruel, undignified and incompetent testing process that accompanies them.

Liza and Rachael perform with such warmth and humour that they lull you into a false sense of security which give the hard facts real impact. It’s a rare event which is entertaining but at the same time so insightful. Go see.

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This is an 85 minute gem!

Two performers went out and asked the public what they should produce a play about and then asked them to create the story as a sort of ‘chain play’. The resulting piece tells the story of the process and stages the ideas and the play.

It’s really hard to describe the result; all I can say is that it’s original, inventive and very funny. I smiled for almost all of the 80 minutes running time and at the end I felt uplifted. It does ask you to examine attitudes to disability but does it so cleverly that it makes you think without ever becoming an ‘issue’ play.

It feels like an Improbable show so I’m sure Lee Simpson’s direction has played its part in creating something that is so consistently entertaining and thought-provoking, with just a handful of props, but the personalities and friendship of performers Lisa Hammond and Rachael Spence is crucial to the piece and their charm and their chemistry is the key to its success.

Don’t try to categorise it, just go and enjoy it for what it is.

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