Bella Freak: Unwritten

Aug 15 2017 | By More

★★★☆☆    Moving and insightful

theSpace @ Surgeons Hall (Venue 53): Fri 4 – Sat 12 Aug 2017
Review by Lucy Evans

Disability History Scotland’s first fringe show Bella Freak: Unwritten is a powerful piece that uses the festival as a platform to advance understanding of disability.

Three performers hold the stage in theSpace @ Surgeon’s Hall, interweaving individual monologues of their different (true) stories and experiences.

David Nicol, Stuart Pyper, Sara-Jane McGeachy and Sasha Callaghan. Pic: Bella Freak

Superheroes are special – but not in the same way these three individuals are, they say, in a show which is scripted by the performers from their own lives.

Sasha Callaghan begins with the story of her childhood. She hated being put in schools away from the other children and realising she was different. “That’s what happens when you’re special – you vanish” she says, her lyrical words painting a detailed picture of how she felt growing up.

Next is Stuart Pyper, who shares his emotional response to being diagnosed late in life with Asperger’s syndrome. His words are impassioned and full of understandable frustration.

David Nicol speaks from his wheelchair centre stage. Having been kept mainly in “mainstream” education, he gives his views on integration in schools, and adds some intentional humour to the piece. Together they put they put forward a dialogue on how much progress is still to be made in the academic and medical systems.

Callaghan and Pyper are graduates of Edinburgh Napier’s MA in Creative writing, along with director Sara-Jane McGeachy. Inclusive in delivery as well as content, it features BSL interpretation by Rachel Amey and closed captioning by Rémi Coventry and AI Media.

The show is produced by Disability History Scotland, which advocates for equality and diversity through the promotion of disability history, education and campaigning. Thanks to funding from the Heritage Lottery, they were able to bring a show to fringe this year for the first time.

Bella Freak: Unwritten is a moving piece and an important addition to the fringe programme.

Running time: 45 minutes
theSpace @ Surgeons Hall, Nicolson Street, EH8 9DW (Venue 53) ​
Friday 4 – Saturday 12 August 2017
Daily (not Sun 6): 5.15pm.
Tickets and details:

Facebook: @DisHistSco
Twitter: @bellafreakon


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