My Left / Right Foot – The Musical (5 stars)

This article is from 2018

My Left/Right Foot

Inclusivity musical is riotously funny and asks us to better ourselves

The Kirktoon Players want to compete for am-dram awards. Their cynical solution; to stage a theatrical adaptation of the classic film My Left Foot, casting their own able-bodied leading man as Christy Brown. What could go wrong? Director Robert Softley Gale, who has cerebral palsy and a track record of wittily deconstructing stereotypes, remembers the Oscar winning film vividly – but rightfully considers it problematic since it is Daniel Day Lewis' performance that is remembered and not the film's real life subject. His daring musical, a Birds of Paradise and National Theatre of Scotland co-production, boldly sets about mocking inspiration porn and reclaiming Brown's story.

Too clouded by their own personal agendas to make real progress, the Kirktoon Players can't get their production right. My Left / Right Foot wastes no time in portraying their tactless takes on Brown's life ('I want love / I want more / In the meantime I'm sucking whiskey through a straw'), a situation exacerbated when their stagehand, Chris (Mathew Duckett) who actually has CP, gets roped in. Both the songs and performances soar for 90 minutes; Gail Watson's would-be matriarch Sheena is fiercely cutting, John McLarnon's thespian Grant is brilliantly self-obsessed, and as Gillian, Dawn Sievewright both sings and swears spectacularly.

This co-production is hilarious; the gags are close to the bone, and important questions are asked about inclusivity. It wisely resists depicting a fully transformative journey at its close, instead leaving plenty to consider, debate and argue about.

Assembly Roxy, until 27 Aug (not 8, 14, 21), 6.10pm, £16 (£12).

My Left / Right Foot – The Musical

  • 5 stars

Co-production by Birds of Paradise and the National Theatre of Scotland about a local am-dram society who decides to stage a show about 'the disabled', despite not knowing any disabled actors.