Director: Sam Rowe
Musical Director: Scott Twynholm
Reviewer: Sophie Everton Ryan
If These Spasms Could Speak is an hour-long comedic and reflective performance that unfurls and celebrates life, created and performed by Robert Softley. Softley interweaves his personal monologue of his life with cerebral palsy with snippets from other lives of people with disabilities. Scott Twynholm’s musical direction works successfully to transition the various pieces of Softley’s monologue and movements without distracting from Softley himself. This piece provides captioning facilitated by Arts and Disability Ireland.
This show is heartbreakingly funny and honest. Softley is continuously charming, roguish and so energetic that his audience is fully immersed for the full sixty minutes. Right at the beginning he references his speech impairment and invites you to ask him to repeat anything you may not understand by him. One is aware that this show will be special. Unabashed he crawls on stage, startles the audience and even invites some to help him undress in a particular poignant moment, successfully working to engage and unite his audience. He consistently brings in humour unexpectedly; blending vulnerability, sex and general ignorance and fear by society that has the audience addressing social issues without letting the atmosphere become heavy.
It is important to remember, as Softley states, one is not here to attend a disability equality function. This is a performance piece, a charming, honest, entertaining, thought provoking piece of theatre that allows an experience of fellow people going about their lives. Yes some may be different to others but in the end haven’t we all brazenly ordered spaghetti on a first date and hoped it wasn’t a mistake? The show, like Softley, is unique, unpredictable, driven and ambitious and Softley has the whole audience in the palm of his hand cheering and roaring with him and for him by the end of the show.
Photo courtesy of Dublin Theatre Festival. Runs until September 27th.