Review: No Idea, Unity Theatre
I was glad I caught No Idea at the Unity Theatre last night (April 22), the first taster show of this year's deaf and disabled arts showcase DaDaFest, which isn't until November but reaches its 10th anniversary in 2010, so is dotting things here and there along the way by means of celebration.
No Idea, performed by Lisa Hammond and Rachel Spence, achieves much in its 1 hour, 15 minute show. The girls developed the show by going out and asking the public what they thought they should do. At first, they act out the responses they got, then go about putting the play into action.
There's a method to this. Lisa is affected by dwarfism (read a good story she wrote about herself in the Times here); Rachel is not. And despite the best of intentions from the people they speak to, convention dictates only one will get to be the dancer, the romantic lead - the "normal" one. They play with these perceptions in an hilarious, sarcastic musical number.
What is strange is that there is a strong sense of a very artistic performance about this show, but at the same time, the natural relationship between Lisa and Rachel shines through. There's something very real and improvisational about it, too, quite a paradox. When Lisa speaks candidly about how the public have percieved her during their experiment, it has the mixed result of hitting home very hard, yet verging on the preachy. Maybe it was the point to turn the tables, and challenge able-bodied people as she has been challenged. Maybe.
No Idea is funny, yet very thought provoking; warm, yet with periods of quiet that are sometimes uncomfortable in the small, dark theatre. But overall, you end up liking and caring about Rachel and Lisa and really thinking about what they're trying to say. Interesting and entertaining stuff.
You can catch it again at the Unity tonight (Friday, April 23).
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