Writer & Lyrics: Alan ‘Cool’ Clay
Music: Andy Brooks aka Testament
Director: Iain Bloomfield
Reviewer: Rich Jevons
Skip Rap is the debut solo show for Alan ‘Cool’ Clay, following some 20 years touring nationally and internationally with Mind the Gap, the leading UK company for artists with learning disabilities. The title of the production refers to on stage junk from the skip, as well as a reference to those times in Clay’s life where he has been treated like trash.
Battling a difficult family environment, he has also faced discrimination in his education, with thoughts of how one teacher said that he would never amount to anything, reverberating over the years. But if this show is anything, it proves just how wrong they were. More recently, he faces cuts in his disability benefits which could mean losing his home and struggling on a hand to mouth existence.
Skip Rap is very politically driven, with a lot of anger. It demands social justice and equality and an end to the ‘rich get richer, poor get poorer’ mentality. And with audience participation, he stands defiance to the current government’s policies.
The perfect accompaniment to Clay’s rapping is Testament’s groovy and upbeat soundtrack and digital imagery highlighting each stage of this complex but compulsive show. Skip Rap is in collaboration with Baba Israel and masterfully directed by Iain Bloomfield (former Artistic Direction at Bradford’s Theatre in the Mill).
This production is an emotional rollercoaster with many witty moments and plenty of angst. For many in the audience, this may be somewhat of a learning curve also, as Clay gives a voice to those who are generally forced to be silent through circumstance and governmental policy.
Reviewed on 10 May 2018 | Image: Tom Woollard-Hero