Edinburgh Fringe 2022
Pioneering theatre company Solar Bear presents a rude, riotous celebration of Scottish D/deaf talent. A rollercoaster ride of comedy, songs and performance, in BSL, dance, song and visual storytelling. Interpreted for the hearing audience. Accessible to all.
In the upstairs Blackwood bar of Deaf Action’s venue Spill Your Drink is a lively cabaret to kick start the weekend of Edinburgh’s first ever Deaf Festival. Sadly it only has three performances and you will have to be quick to get a ticket as night one was sold out, much to the delight of our host Scottish actor Craig McCulloch. He was joined on stage by fellow Royal Conservatoire of Scotland graduates Amy Murray and Connor Bryson – both experienced stage and TV actors but here with funny stand-up routines. Poet Nadia Nadarajah delighted with a tale from her grandmother’s kitchen of how Sri Lankan curry spice mix is concocted and Jia McKenzie got the room whooping with elegant and sexy dancing. Evie Waddell interpreted Scottish ballads with sign language in both English and Scottish Gaelic (very much a minority language), and Petre Dobre performed an adventure story in visual vernacular, a form of physical theatre that combines mime, BSL and a visual representation of sound. Christopher Havilchek’s thoughtful lighting complemented the music and storytelling elements, layering in more interpretation.
Why Spill Your Drink as a title? It’s a reference to how pints often get swept of the table in lively pub and bar conversations between BSL users, a symbol of joyful sociable communication. This cabaret event was just that, a fun night out for Deaf and hearing people alike. I am reviewing this as a hearing person so access for me was through the expressive voice of Tessa Slaughter. One element was not translated, a poem written in BSL by Nadia Nadarajah so a translation into spoken English was not appropriate – briefly a lived experience for the hearing audience of the exclusion experienced by many Disabled people.
Spill Your Drink only has two more performances (Saturday 13th, Sunday 14th at 7pm). Don’t miss out. Edinburgh Deaf Festival (running to 19th August) is an accessible celebration of deaf culture, language and heritage. Join them for a variety of performances and events throughout the week. Events will be performed in BSL, or will be BSL interpreted and captioned. This part of the Edinburgh Fringe is a festival for everyone.