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Our Guide to The Fringe – Part One

Cast of My Left  Right Foot The Musical
Cast of My Left Right Foot The Musical Image credit: enablemagazine.co.uk

Going to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe this month? With so many shows it can be a bit of a headache fishing out the ones to catch.

We don’t have time to list the hundreds of performances on the bill, but we’ve picked out two which are worth checking out by disabled actors/ comedians and a show which reflects how life is living with a disabled sibling…

Everything Is Going To Be KO

The observant among you may have twigged already that the title of Kaiya Stone’s show at the Fringe reflects her struggles with being diagnosed with dyslexia when she was studying at Oxford University.

Stone knew she had problems with words when she had difficulty taking a translation exam. After being examined by a specialist Kaiya was told she had ADHD dyspraxia as well as dyslexia.

She told the BBC: "It completely changed my life and perception of myself. And at the same time, it also gave me the language to understand the way that I thought and worked. I began making the show I needed to see when I was diagnosed just so I didn't feel alone. Now it has become something beyond that, for me, Everything Is Going To Be KO is an intervention into the dearth of theatre containing disabled narratives."

"I'd love to inform people. I'd like to provide a voice that I couldn't find when I was diagnosed. I want to see the world celebrating neuro-atypical thought. We are incredible storytellers and innovators. Because of what we might struggle with, we have had to create new untrodden paths to succeed. Everyone benefits from that.

"Intelligence is not based on a sound grip on grammar and spelling. In the same way, balance and structure have their uses but transformation and change are born from failure and chaos. Those of us with SpLDs [specific learning difficulties] are old friends of failure and chaos. We know how to use the negative and create something new when we are given the chance."

Everything Is Going To Be KO runs until 27th August at Pleasure Courtyard.

Dangerous Giant Animals

Christina Murdock’s sister Kate has speech apraxia learning disabilities cerebral palsy and epilepsy which can trigger off up to 20 seizures a day, but there’s one thing that is guaranteed to put a huge smile on her face.

Kate loves the film Monsters and Christina has tremendous satisfaction seeing the joy on her face as she becomes lost in the film, which inspired the title of her show.

Explaining how having a disabled sibling can impact one’s life growing up Christina said: "You had to be a really good person growing up in my family.

"You couldn’t be selfish – because Kate wouldn’t let you. Her needs always trumped everyone else's. So if I ever started to act out, I would get a 'Christina please... Kate is enough. We can’t deal with you as well'.

"My goal with this show is to bring attention and connection to the world of disability, through my lens as a sibling.

We don’t have enough stories being told about disability, and especially not about disability from the family or sibling perspective. This show is about promoting awareness and compassion for people with disabilities and those that care for them."

Dangerous Giant Animals is on 8th, 14th and 21st August at Underbelly, Bristo Square.

My Left/ Right Foot – The Musical

Over the past few years we’ve heard stories about non-disabled actors playing disabled characters in movies, especially over in Hollywood.

Back in 1989 when Daniel Day Lewis was cast as the role of Christy Brown – the Irish poet with cerebral palsy – it wasn’t really an issue. Thankfully society has now put its best foot forward and woken up to the fact disabled roles should be given to disabled actors. Which kinda makes sense!

It’s a topic which My Left/ Right Foot’s writer and director Robert Softley Gale – who also has CP – concentres on in his show which has been co-produced with the National Theatre of Scotland and inclusive company Birds of Paradise.

Gale said: "These stories never get to be told. What we get is the kind of Daniel Day Lewis version of this story, you get his interpretation. I guess for me this is about reclaiming a bit of that. I think that’s where the character Chris wants to reclaim that story from this big Hollywood star who made it all about him - and we can make it all about me!"

"Language is important, yes, but it is only important so far. There’s a point where actually it is about what you mean, what your intention is and hopefully the intention of this show allows us to use whatever language we want because the heart is there and the intention is good."

My Left/ Right Foot – The Musical runs every day apart from 8th, 14th and 21st August at Assembly Roxy.

The Edinburgh Festival Fringe runs until 27th August. For a list of all shows visit their website.