My Left/Right Foot – The Musical
My Left/Right Foot – The Musical.
As the blurb says, My Left/Right Foot tells of the local am-dram society who is under pressure to comply with the equalities agenda. They come up with a cunning plan to create a gripping show starring ‘the disabled’. What could be better than the Oscar-winning ‘My Left Foot’? The only snag is they’re having real trouble finding any disabled actors – but that never stopped Daniel Day-Lewis!
This blurb however doesn’t do the company and the innovation behind the show justice. With a show, within a show that has a focus on someone with CP and inclusion, Birds Of Paradise Theatre Company and National Theatre of Scotland ensure that this is at the forefront of their own show and integrated in a clever way. BSL interpreter Natalie MacDonald for example becomes part of the show and when Chris struggles to understand the voice of Christy Brown he is pointed towards the captions. The integration is witty and never patronising.
It is a cast of 8 and each of them embody their character brilliantly. Matthew Duckett plays Chris, the technician who is thrust into the spotlight on account that he has CP. His reaction to the rest of the cast as they discuss CP and Christy Brown strikes the perfect balance between comedy gold and the uncomfortable truth of how many disabilities are misunderstood, despite however well meaning people may be. Natalie MacDonald, plays Nat, the BSL interpreter who turns up to get some some experience in theatre interpreting. I am always in awe of the expression that BSL interpreters give during a performance however Natalie takes this to a new level. At times her interpretation, during the more tender moments of the musical is subtle yet at other times her interpretation is used to hilarious effect. A particular favourite of mine is how Sheena keeps shouting at Nat, despite her protestations that she isn’t deaf. Dawn Sievewright as Gillian also brought infectious energy and a great voice to the show.
The music is Scott Gilmore and Claire McKensie with additional songs by Richard Thomas. It is an intelligent mix of humour such as ‘Spasticity’ (think Billy Elliott’s Electricity) and more traditional musical theatre numbers. The book by Robert Softley Gale never drags and switches between comedy to more touching moments with ease.
The best thing about My Left/Right Foot is that the audience leaves thinking about their own attitudes yet the show never preaches and the audience never feel as if they are being directly criticised. You can easily laugh at the characters in the musical and the mistakes they make but then inwardly reflect as to what elements of these characters you may, unwittingly, see in yourself.
My Left/Right Foot the Musical is running until the 27th August at Assembly Roxy – Central (venue 139) at 18:10 – 19:40. To find out more about their show visit Birds of Paradise Theatre Company website.