Graeae’s Crips Without Constraints Part 2 feels like a great shot in the arm for those who might be tiring of the Zoom format that characterises so much of what new theatre we’re able to get at this moment in time. All five short plays in this collection have been written by alumni from Graeae’s Write to Play programme and are directed by upcoming disabled directors. truly celebrating celebrating the best talent and creativity of UK Deaf and disabled artists.
What is particularly impressive is the way in which that talent matches up to the more established names taking part here. Just look at how Mandy Colleran squares up to Harriet Walter’s condescending actor in Kellan Frankland’s How Do You Make A Cup of Tea?, skewering the lie about who gets the opportunity to portray disability onstage or onscreen. Or the way Saida Ahmed’s incredible performance equals the magnificent Sharon D Clarke’s for emotional intensity in The Gift by Leanna Benjamin, as a mother and daughter attempt to deal with some hard-hitting truths.
There are lighter moments across the five films too – Lilac Yosiphon’s direction of Jessica Lovett’s Stuck With You is a case in point here, lacing the bittersweet sisterly antagonism with shots of real humour. And across the whole programme, there’s an intelligently nuanced and perceptive take on the everyday realities of engaging with society when living with disability. Recommended.
Crips Without Constraints 2 will be available to view in its entirety until 30 April 2021.