devised by Lee Simpson, Lisa Hammond, Rachel Spence.
Young Vic 66 The Cut SE1 8LZ To 31 July 2010.
Mon-Sat 7:45pm Mat Sat: 2.45pm.
Runs 1hr 20min No interval.
TICKETS: 020 7922 2922.
Review: Carole Woddis 22 July.
Counters no idea with insights and perception.
Lisa Hammond happens to be a small person. Sometimes she is in a wheelchair. She is also a fantastic performer who has appeared with, amongst others, Told By An Idiot (Beauty and the Beast) and Graeae (Peeling).
Rachel Spence is leggy, super relaxed and a regular collaborator with Improbable Theatre. Together they have made a show, under the auspices of Improbable director Lee Simpson, that is one of the wittiest, cleverest I’ve seen this year. The key to it is trust, truthfulness and bags of humour.
Working off each other as if they had been doing stand-up together for ever, the tone is at once light-hearted, ironical and critical, the latter heavily disguised. The title of the show stands both for description, of Lisa and Rachel’s approach to what kind of show they might do together, and the public’s understanding of being disabled.
Which is not much, it seems.
We know this because, using the verbatim technique pioneered by Alecky Blythe, Lisa and Rachel relay back to us various – and often illogical – comments taken from interviews carried out with the public about what they think a show about these two women might be.
At first, hilarious, increasingly the comments show the public’s limited perception and how appearance skews the judgements we make of others.
Lisa has a cheeky face. So it follows that the show could be about someone with a cheeky happy face. Lisa does a deliciously mocking music-hall send up of this, with Rachel plonking away on electric keyboard, which explodes that stereotype into the stratosphere.
Later, a romantic story emerges in which Lisa finds herself completely cut-out. Anger over-rides humour when Romance is revealed as, apparently, something the public do not generally associate with a person with `disability’.
Part-sketch, part-conversation, part-impro, No Idea constantly scores by its lack of hectoring or self-pity and its delicious sophistication in terms of ideas and style.
Shot through with laughter, occasionally shocking – Rachel’s secret vice is shoplifting – you come out wiser but most of all, having experienced a wonderfully wrought piece of theatre.
Cast: Lisa Hammond and Rachel Spence.
Director: Lee Simpson.
Designer/Costume: Ben Stones.
Lighting: Gareth Fry.
Projections: Salvador Avila.
Assistant designer: Sarah Grange.
Assistant sound: Tom Hackley.
no idea developed out of workshops and work-in-progress performances with Lyric Hammersmith Firsts and decibel Performing Arts showcase. It is the first Improbable Artist Project, a collaboration between artists who’ve worked previously with Improbable and the Improbable team.