Review: My Left / Right Foot – The Musical

Perfectly pitched exploration of how we treat disabled people

musicals review (edinburgh) | Read in About 2 minutes
Published 08 Aug 2018
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The Kirktoon Players enter the Scottish Amateur Dramatic Association’s one-act play competition every year but somehow, success always eludes them. In an attempt to shake things up—and, crucially, take advantage of a loophole in the judging system that gives extra points to shows that actively champion diversity—this bunch of loveable and not-so-loveable misfits decide that this year’s entry will be an adaptation of the Daniel Day-Lewis movie My Left Foot. “DDL” won an Oscar for his portrayal of disabled Irish painter Christy Brown – surely the SADA play festival is in the bag?

What follows—via the medium of musical theatre, of course—is a perfectly pitched, gloriously irreverent and fantastically funny exploration of the thorny issue of how we treat disabled people in our society.

As you’d expect from one of the UK’s leading disabled-led theatre companies, access is much more than just an afterthought. BSL-interpretation, captioning and a sprinkling of audio description are key narrative ingredients. Natalie MacDonald’s integrated signing in particular (as well as her strong physical comedy chops) give director Robert Softley Gale the opportunity to comment on characters’ questionable attitudes as they’re expressing them, thereby letting this production have its comedy cake and eat it too.

The score, by Richard Thomas (music and lyrics), Claire McKenzie (music) and Scott Gilmour (lyrics) is full of hummable, feel-good tunes that give each member of this excellent ensemble a chance to shine without ever falling into sentimentality. If ever a show deserved a post-Fringe run, this is it.