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.
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.
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.
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.