[star rating =4/5]
If it wasn’t for the fact that Director ROBERT SOFTLEY GALE had the very impairment that this musical-within-a-musical pokes fun at, it probably wouldn’t have been politically correct enough to have a sell-out show with a mixed-ability audience.
With one numbers titled ‘Spasticity’, it’s not exactly a musical for the easily-offended but it is a calculated, satirical approach to shining a much needed light on ignorance.
The plot follows the members of an amateur dramatics club as they endeavour to win more points in a national competition by being inclusive. They cast decide to create a musical inspired by Daniel Day Lewis’s performance in My Left Right Foot – a performance which Director ROBERT SOFTLEY GALE, who has cerebral palsy, believed to reinforce the idea of disabled people as victims.
They soon realise that their production, with a fully-abled cast, wasn’t going get those extra points for inclusion that they were after. Looking for a quick alternative to their uncomfortably narcisstic lead, they cast Chris in the leading role, a young man with cerebral palsy who tries, to some avail, to teach the cast what living with the disability is really like.
The venue of the old church added value to the set, a recreation of a community hub playing host to the characters of My Left Right Foot.
Bringing sign to centre-stage and making audio-description a witty addition to the script were only a few examples of how My Left Right Foot brought BSL into the heart of the production; subtitles were projected onto the backdrop of the performance which only emphasised the hilarity of the cleverly crafted script and whimsical lyrics.
The choreography within the numbers was a real strong point of the show, often adding to its comedic value. DAWN SIEVEWRIGHT, Gillian, and JOHN MCLARNON who played Grant, had particularly strong vocals, but the entire cast were near flawless in their delivery.
It’s difficult to argue with a standing ovation, and this crowd certainly enjoyed the tone of the show.