When Leftwing Idiot came back from the Edinburgh Fringe Festival last year there was one show he’d seen in particular that’d made a big impression on him. It was Robert Softly Gayle’s ‘If These Spasms Could Speak’, which brought together different disabled people’s experiences, along with his own. Leftwing Idiot had loved it, and significantly for me it was the show that got him thinking about what a Touretteshero show might look like.
A year on and I was thrilled that Robert came to see Backstage In Biscuit Land (BIBL) while it was at the Fringe.
Pretty much everyone involved in BIBL had seen and loved ‘If These Spasms Could Speak’, but I hadn’t had the chance – until tonight that is, because Robert was performing it as part of the Southbank’s Unlimited Festival. So I went to see it there. The Festival’s on all week, showcasing work by disabled artists.
I was so glad to see it at last, and I understood instantly why Leftwing Idiot had found it inspiring. Roberts’s performance was amazing and many of the stories and experiences he shared resonated deeply with me.
Will was supporting me and there was one moment that very definitely resonated with him. Robert was demonstrating the startle reflex, which is when his muscles spasm and his body jumps because he’s had a shock. Demonstrating this involved a toy gun and a loud bang, and it made my body go wild too. As a result Will got several hard thumps on his arm.
After the show I had a quick drink with Robert and some other people who’d been there including Sara, who’s behind the brilliant Same Difference blog and who I’d never met before.
The atmosphere at the Southbank Centre was buzzing and very inclusive. I loved being part of it and can’t wait to spend more time there over the next few days.
We’re doing several performances during the Festival including two of BIBL on Sunday, and Captain Hotknives and I are taking over the foyer of the Queen Elizabeth Hall tomorrow evening. Come and join us if you can.