North WestSpoken WordStand Up

The Misfit Analysis – The Lowry, Salford

Writer: Cian Binchy with Access all Areas
Director: Nick Llewellyn
Reviewer: Matt Forrest

Now I’ll lay my cards on the table from the get-go: I am a support worker with over seven years experience working with people with learning difficulties, which include Down’s Syndrome and Autism so of course I’m in expert in this field and know everything there is to know on this subject… which is of course nonsense!

Your real aficionados are those who have the condition so, when it comes to an expert, look no further that Cian Binchy: a graduate of the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, and along with the Access all Areas theatre group has written The Misfit Analysis – a look inside the head of a young man with autism.

Binchy’s first solo show is part stand-up, part theatrical piece as we explore some of the myths surrounding autism, both thought-provoking and packed with humour, this is a piece that aims to inform as well as entertain.

Binchy commands the stage throughout the one-hour show helped along the way by his ‘carer’ Lesley Ewen and some pitch-perfect short videos and animations. The show tackles issues such as the myth that autistic people lack empathy and how disabled people should be treated equally: and not use their disability as and when it suits them. Disabled people have the same needs and desires as us all.

To hammer home the point, we have the ‘Wheel of Autism’ with Binchy acting as our game show host, as well as a routine involving the emoji. There is a spot of audience participation as we are invited to spin some plates, hula-hoop, or blow a windmill. Not everything works and some aspects of the show are uncomfortable; a scene with Binchy attempting to ‘chat-up’ a blow-up doll really doesn’t work: I’m still unsure what point it was trying to make or if it was just thrown in for shock value.

Binchy is a natural, confident performer who commands the theatre space. The sketches borrow heavily from satirical TV programmes such as The Day Today and Brass Eye, while the animations are as bizarre as they are entertaining, with more than a hint of Terry Gillian in his Monty Python days, which is certainly no bad thing.

This is a fascinating and thought-provoking show as we delve into a mind full of mischief and fun. It challenges and aims to encourage debate, which for my money is what art should do. The show is well worth a watch and certainly dispels some misconceptions about autism and that can only be a good thing.

Reviewed on 31 March 2017 | Image: Idil Sukan

Related article: Cian Binchy talks autism in the arts

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The North West team is under the editorship of John Roberts. The Reviews Hub was set up in 2007. Our mission is to provide the most in-depth, nationwide arts coverage online.

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