Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2023 Theatre Review: It’s a Motherf**king Pleasure (Underbelly Bristo Square) ★★★★★

A sharply-pointed satire that is not afraid to make the audience uncomfortable, It’s a Motherf**king Pleasure takes aim at assumptions about disability, ableism, and the knots people tie themselves in trying to always say the “right” thing.

Aarian Mehraban, Samuel Brewer and Chloe Palmer in It’s a Motherf**king Pleasure. Photo Credit: Alex Brenner.

This show starts as it means to go on, with humour as dry as the sahara. The performers from FlawBored each introduce themselves, and then attempt to adjust the audience experience for each individual in increasingly hilarious ways. The piece is a beautiful balance of sincerity and really smart satire. Jokes at their own expense, playing with form, subversive audio-description and captioning – this is a laugh a minute theatrical experience with a dark underbellly that Charlie Brooker would be proud of.

Samuel Brewer in It’s a Motherf**king Pleasure. Photo Credit: Alex Brenner.

Portraying the employees of RIZE (with a Z), a PR company tasked with overcoming the fact that someone has “done an ableism”, the cast take the monitisation of identity politics and push it to the nth degree. Disabled talent manager, Tim (Samuel Brewer), siezes the opportunity to take charge of the project, while Chloe Palmer’s anxiety-ridden HR manager, Helen, attempts to navigate their interactions by quoting a training package. They hire insta-influencer, Ross (Aarian Mehraban), to be the face of the campaign, dryly acknowleding he is a “triple threat” – gay, blind and brown.

The difficulty of making this kind of work, the cast acknowledge, is that reality is more outrageous than fiction. They highlight actual events where you can “experience being blind”, which are in worse taste that almost anything you could write. They had to really reach to come up with a dark enough ending – time alone will tell if it is actually a grim predication.

Aarian Mehraban and Chloe Palmer in It’s a Motherf**king Pleasure. Photo Credit: Alex Brenner.

It is hard to explain why this piece is so compelling, so funny and so decidedly on the nose. You really have to experience it for yourself, while you can still get a ticket.

By Deborah Klayman

It’s a Motherf**king Pleasure plays at Underbelly Bristo Square, Edinburgh until August 27th 2023.

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