Pros: A funny, sharp and devastating show that’s as effervescent as it’s searing, Still No Idea has plenty of ideas and phenomenal gusto.
Cons: Saying ‘wow’ ever again is going to feel very, very loaded. And forget about telling anyone they have a cheeky face!
An acutely perceptive comedy about the way in which people see others – and default to ‘othering’ disabled people – cleverly deconstructs the ways in which the television industry seems to have run out of imagination. That lack of imagination, in turn, shapes the general public’s idea of storytelling. What are the stories that should be told? Actors Lisa Hammond and Rachael Spence went out and asked. The vox pops they collected are both funny and hair-raising: erasure of the disabled turns out to be the norm. A polite erasure, which is of course not polite at all.
It’s not entirely clear if these are really the stories people imagine for themselves, or simply the stories people think others want to hear. Either way, important, captivating stories are being lost. At a turning point in the show, cheerful hope turns to dismay as Hammond recounts her peripheral experience on a popular prime-time soap opera, never at the heart of the story. Why not write a story for another character and put her name on it, she asks. From then on, the laughter continues while the mood turns increasingly reflective.
This is a play that manages to be very funny yet a wake-up call. It is unafraid of navigating crosscurrent. It points out how just at a time when there is a popular perception that disability is being done justice, the reality is quite different. It is not only that material conditions for disabled people have become harsher and even punitive: media representations of disabled people glorify the exceptionally hardy, the athletes, those able through circumstances and personal appetite to push themselves to their limit. The others – ‘others’ again – are forgotten. Still No Idea punctures that complacency. It’s a glorious and imaginative endeavour to help put things right. It is also a great night out.
Written by: Lisa Hammond, Lee Simpson and Rachael Spence.
Directed by: Lee Simpson
Produced by: Improbable
Box Office: 020 7565 5000
Booking Link: https://royalcourttheatre.com/whats-on/still-no-idea
Booking Until: 17th November 2018