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Edinburgh Fringe 2022

Look no hands

Lila Clements, Tiny Giant Productions, Bell Rock and Pitlochry Festival

Genre: New Writing, Solo Show, Theatre, True-life

Venue: Summerhall


Low Down

Cyclist Vee has no idea why she’s woken up in hospital. Armed with only her medical notes and a surprise appearance on 24 Hours in A&E, she tries to piece together exactly what has happened to her. But the mystery she can’t solve is why something so awful… has made her feel so fantastic! Inspired by a real-life cycling collision, this solo show by Scottish artist Lila Clements, is a story of hope and survival, made in partnership with female cycling club Velociposse.


We arrive to a silent video of a London junction playing overlaid with a striking collection of 20 bike wheels.

Look no Hands in the debut solo show for as writer and performer for actor Lila Clements, a semi biographical story centering on a cycle collision she had in London in 2010. The play follows the journey of cyclist Vee, who wakes up in hospital with no idea how she got there, as she tries to piece together what happened, how to make sense of it and how to reestablish her life. The action is framed by the court case and conviction of the van driver for driving without due care and attention, her childhood memories of learning to ride and cycling with her father. She experiences nightmares, flashbacks and, bizarrely, discovering herself on an episode of the fly on the wall TV series: 24 hours in A&E.

As well as the carefully crafted and detailed personal account of the impact, the court case and how she came to love cycling in her childhood the piece acquires depth as it explores Post Traumatic Growth (PTG). PTG is the idea that trauma can be the catalyst for positive change and growth. For Lila, despite the elements of PTSD and nightmares, the realisation that she had a close brush with death and survived ultimately enabled her to make positive changes in her life.

The show makes the most of yet another tiny Fringe stage with a bike which, at first, looks like any bike set on a mount to enable stationary cycling but it turns out to be much more. Between some interesting adaptations and additions and Clements imaginative use of it to tell parts of her story it becomes an integral part of the story.

The writing is well structured and lyrical moving between childhood, the court case and the post-accident effects. It includes plenty of nice observational moments – leaving the hospital in a wheelchair but unable to get past a metal door strip, giving a glimpse of the challenges of being disabled, even temporarily.

Clements’ delivery is warm and conversational drawing her audience into the story and playing out her characters well. Her younger self exclaiming ‘I am cycling all by myself’ when the stabilisers are removed is a moment of real joy.

Overall a stylish warm account of a difficult period and a glimpse into the little known reaction to trauma of PTG.