Dance, Physical theatre and Circus review: Louder is Not Always Clearer, Summerhall, Edinburgh

Jonny Cotsen’s mother wanted her son to live a ‘normal’ life.

Louder is Not Always Clearer, Summerhall (Venue 26)

Louder is Not Always Clearer, Summerhall * * * *

So although he was born without the ability to hear, he was never referred to as deaf. Throughout his childhood, Cotsen attended mainstream education and had no contact with the deaf community.

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The consequences of this have been far-reaching, as we learn in this honest, funny, illuminating and moving show.

On the positive side, he’s an incredible lip reader (Cotsen didn’t learn to use sign language until he was an adult) and can speak well. The downside is he spent much of his life feeling excluded from both the hearing and non-hearing camps – he didn’t really belong in either.

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Co-created by Cotsen and Gareth Clark, of Welsh theatre company Mr & Mrs Clark, this is a show that stays with you. Cotsen’s manner is unassuming yet warm, his dialogue – whether it’s spoken, typed out on a laptop or acted – is clear and witty.

He’s unafraid to be vulnerable, which gives him easy access to our hearts, so much so that when he delivers an entire routine poking fun at hearing people, and our occasional inappropriateness in the face of disability, we laugh knowingly rather than take offence.

We get the message loud and clear.

KELLY APTER

Until 25 August