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Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Tightrope at the Lyric

In the heart of Hammersmith lies West London’s most promising theatre, The Lyric. This venue offers an eclectic array of shows. Last weekend I went to see their current production, Tightrope.

Tightrope is a show performed by the Lyric’s resident dance theatre company, Amici, integrating able bodied and disabled performers. In this way it challenges the conventional expectations of theatre audiences.

When you sit down you don’t know what to expect. Performers of all kinds wander joyously onto the stage, some in wheelchairs others being helped by Amici performers, each has their own part to play in this story. Tightrope has everything you imagine a circus to have: clowns, strongmen, tightrope walkers and snake charmers.

On the street disabled people may have a low profile but here their talent is celebrated, and these artists love the attention. The wheelchair performers are particularly inspiring, one man rises from the floor (out of his chair) high into the air, another, ‘the wheelchair showgirl’ dances beautifully across the stage. A small band accompany the show and short poems, written by Amici member Chrissie Kugele are sung.

Tightrope may be uncomfortable for some at first, but as the evening progresses you appreciate the beauty of this show and the prejudices that it overcomes. And as you laugh with these performers there are smiles all round.

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