Browse reviews

FringeReview UK 2016

Low Down

The Dukebox Brighton presents Paul Wady’s Guerilla Aspies. Wady directs and projects his one-man show with Guy Wah and the Sweetvenues team on hand to curate and photograph it, in the Dukebox’s small space.


Paul Wady directs and projects his one-man show Guerilla Aspies at the Dukebox Brighton. Guy Wah and the Sweetvenues team were on hand to curate and photograph the show, in the Dukebox small space.


Ever felt normal, or wanted as a neurotypical to make pointless small talk, get mutually emotional, wrote Barbara Cartland novels, use expressive faces? Wait for someone else to finish because they’re obviously more interesting than you or you’d be talking, work I open pan offices, go out socialising…? Welcome to the terminally depressive world of neurotypicals as seen from the point of an Aspergers conditioned (like cask conditioned) man, Paul Wady whose show this is, whose film you can watch and whose book you can buy.


You’ll be subjected anyway to Newton, Spock, eventually Vladimir Putin and his inexpressive face, the heroine of the bridge (or hero of The Code for that matter) and so many other scientists from Newton Einstein and Curie to well it might e libellous to name them.


And there’s the point, the world of the diagnosed and undiagnosed. Aspergers’ or high-functioning autism is a condition, a gift beyond the number-crunching savant of the Rain Man, inflecting not infecting a range of behaviours from extreme non-involvement to uncontrollable emotions in a flash sometimes, but otherwise a to more ‘normal’ than the attempts at branding and cure. The tortures with ECT and far more dare one say shocking treatment that children in America are being subjected to is humans rights abuse on an unimaginable scale, with parents of the Ayn Rand disposition subjecting their children to a tripled kind of electronic torture in specialy directed schools or in one horrific application, a douche to wash out the parasitic worms some imagine to be the cause. We’re into the casting out of demons here, though it’s not notably Christian fringe individuals who perpetrate this.


There’s humour too, the how-to of socialising even going with a prostitute (I asked about the how-to of CIA hacking without being caught). And in contrast to Cartland who might have enjoyd issues of her own with a formulaic repeated novel 723 times, various factually rich correctives from the OIU or Sven Hassall novels are raised as comic alternatives.


Wady’s incredibly interactive, asking us to wave our hands share our obsessions (giant guinea-pigs in drams anyone?) and when the screen projector crashed (did it really?) it allowed him to walk round the audience with a series of slides on his Mac. These swing from a variety of directives to more quizzes. Wady refers to his stalking, which he’s never in fact enacted, the subject being an old friend of over 26 year standing. but confronting obsessions labelling and then un-labelling them is another Wady sleight, as is the discombobulating manner of naming say Spike Milligan as an Aspie with bipolar combo, and asking what this means perceptually.


Rifted in here is an extremely serious programme dressed as comedy that both savages and caresses prejudice so prejudice whirls about confused and can’t find its way out.


This is an absolutely necessary and enagaging show we need to see back. The audience was packed, and exhilarated, Wady making contact with nearly everyone but in a creative and – yes – neutrotypical way. ‘And when were you diagnosed?’ he asked me.