Artistic Director: Flo O’Mahony
Director: Rachel O’Mahony
Perfect Show for Rachel is a warm-hearted piece developed by Flo O’Mahony and Zoo Theatre Company around her sister, Rachel O’Mahony. Rachel is learning-disabled and, at 31, a care-home resident. But, as Flo explains, this is Rachel’s show: she is director. She sits at a desk to the side of the audience – we can see her on a tv screen. She has an array of buttons she can push to set off whatever segment of the show she fancies. Flo has warned us we’re in for an unpredictable time: Rachel may decide to chuck people out or not show up herself. We may see nothing but a repeated video of her riding a bike.
This doesn’t happen on the opening night, and the audience is treated to a whole lot of workshopped scenarios by Zoo Theatre Company. Early on, four of them represent Rachel’s favourite snacks, including a packet of crisps and a rather endearing bourbon biscuit with his own song. Rachel loves fart jokes, so there’s a scene she chooses a couple of times when pair of Inspector Clouseau-types try to track down who has farted. There’s imaginative use of old footage of Rachel’s family, playing an obviously well-loved game of bowls while on stage the scene is recreated. Everyone’s a skittle and when a ball is thrown, they all tumble down. The button is pressed rather too often on Who’s Got The Bag, which involves a lot of running around and loses something of its entertainment value on repetition.
Flo O’Mahony is to be commended for her vision of developing a radical new form of inclusive creativity. It’s a risky business and it’s not entirely clear who might be the show’s intended audience. The jolly Playschool aesthetic and cheerful clowning of Perfect Show for Rachel suggest younger people would particularly enjoy it, but the inclusion of some adult language rules them out. Trickiest is the fact that on the opening night Rachel herself, although smiling delightedly throughout, rarely initiated any of the button-pushing necessary to move the show along.
Runs until 26 November 2022
“it’s not entirely clear who might be the show’s intended audience”
Rachel. (It’s in the title.)
“Trickiest is the fact that on the opening night Rachel herself, although smiling delightedly throughout, rarely initiated any of the button-pushing necessary to move the show along.”
That was not at all tricky for Rachel, who is the show’s intended audience.
So interesting to see how it feels to experience a show that is not made to please any audiences. (Apart from Rachel. Obviously.)