Raising chuckles and awareness
This article is from 2007.
Thousands hit the Fringe every year with the aim of busting perceptions, but it’ll be hard to find someone who achieves this as thoroughly as the charming Laurence Clark, whose approach veers between being warmly funny and making us feel as uncomfortable as Jim Davidson at a disability rights rally. Clark has to use a wheelchair and has somewhat drawled speech because he has cerebral palsy; he puts nervous punters at their ease with a quip about sounding drunk. His main gripe is the way disabled characters are either depicted as being evil (look at any James Bond film), worthy of pity, asexual, fake (Little Britain’s Andy Pipkin), or in need of a Christian miracle. He’s also narked about how some people treat him, particularly taxi drivers.
His witty mixture of PowerPoint and footage of set-ups filmed with a hidden camera succeeds in forcing us to examine our views. And this is what perhaps limits the laughs at times; it seems a bit wrong to giggle at the lonely hearts ads he has selected from Disability Now, but if we don’t laugh are we guilty of displaying the kind of pity he so detests? Either way, full marks to Laurence Clark for raising awareness.
Zoo Southside, 662 6892, until 25 Aug (not 13 & 14), 6.15pm, £6.50–£7.50 (£5.50–£6.50).