Colin Hambrook reviews Liz Carr's 'It hasn't happened yet' / 4 November 2007
It's rare I get out and about on the Disability Circuit these days, what with the pressures of family life and constant ongoing health concerns. BUT I was very fortunate to catch Liz Carr at the Peoples' Show Studio in Bethnal Green at the end of the month. It was one of the most original, and definitely the funniest piece of disability theatre I've seen in years.
It began with a few gags from the creative director telling the audience what a load of rubbish we'd come to see. I wasn't sure if the intro worked totally, but I loved the gag about asking the audience to keep their mobile phones on.
Liz's performance was a unique and at times shockingly hilarious piece of storytelling. If it's all true, this woman has gone to amazing lengths to break into the mainstream comedy circuit.
The show is Liz' take on the oft heard experience of disabled performers, that 'disability' is a non-starter as subject matter in the wider world of theatre (unless of course it is coming from the tragic but brave school). She illustrates her experience using voiceovers for the other characters.
The dialogue flows through anecdote and into areas of her own comedy performance. Apparently it's better to to joke about fish than it is to joke about disability. Liz obligingly subverts the genre by telling jokes about disabled fish. When she gets into 'disability dog' territory her surrealist humour starts verging on Nancy Friday fantasy.
Clearly in comedy you've got to be built like an emotional panza tank to withstand the torrents of abuse you can expect from mc's, promoters, and audience for getting on stage and declaring yourself to be 'funny'. It hasn't happened yet ... is Liz' answer to her abusers ... and when she gets into full throttle acerbic mode she really knows how to turn on the juice. My only criticism would be that at times the recorded voices go on for too long and some of the energy Liz has built up gets lost.
Above everything, this is a great piece of theatre and I for one am rooting for Liz to get funding to turn this into a full blown national tour.