Pros: At just the right length and with a dynamic solo performance by Emmott, the work is engaging from start to finish.
Cons: A couple of moments feel a little laboured, but this doesn’t detract from what is a great piece of storytelling and a worthwhile cause.
Theatre with purpose is on offer here from sassy Salford based company, Art with Heart. Currently on tour across England, this autobiographical monologue play educates audiences about ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder) in a fun and participatory way.
Sarah Emmott tells her story about living and being diagnosed with ADHD. From primary school to adulthood, she recalls the times when it has been both her friend and her foe. In a highly energetic and steely performance, Emmott ricochets about the stage in a roller coaster of a retelling that wonderfully befits the topic.
The preset involves Emmott visiting audience members, garnering as much information as possible about them. This is the first demonstration of the condition; the potential need to have all of the facts. It also provides Emmott with an opportunity to interact with audience members, referencing them by name later on in her performance. The work befriends the audience and creates a unique sense of familiarity. The audience are treated like friends of Emmott throughout, firmly connecting audience with performer, in what is an enjoyable 70 minute interaction.
The set-up is simple yet effective. Performed in-the-round, the show has an intimate feel. Objects, such as clothing and other paraphernalia relevant to the story hang from washing lines positioned around the parameters of the space. This creates a circus feel, almost like being inside a (small) big top. From story to space, there is a real sense of being welcome and trusted. There’s multi-media too, which sees Emmott’s mum talking to camera about her daughter’s condition: a personal touch that brings authenticity to the piece.
Supported by the ADHD Foundation, Declaration is successful in raising awareness and understanding of the condition. It is much more complicated than many people think, which Art with Heart colourfully expose, offering clarity and a better understanding of living with ADHD. This work is a particular must for people working in caring professions, as well as being a good night out.
Created by: Sarah Emmott and Rachel Moorhouse
Directed by: Rachel Moorhouse
Produced by: Art with Heart and Hannah Woods
Booking link: http://www.artwithheart.org.uk/events/
Booking until: Various UK locations until 22nd November 2018. See booking link above for details.