Theatre review: Bella Freak: Unwritten

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Edinburgh Festival Fringe: There is a disarming simplicity to this show from Disability History Scotland, featuring three interwoven monologues by writer/performers who have all at one point been considered “special” – meaning, according to Sasha Callaghan, “s***e”.

theSpace @ Surgeons Hall (Venue 53)

***

All three zero in on their formative years and their experience of school in exacting and sometimes entertaining fashion. Callaghan writes beautifully about her childhood and previous generations of her family, exuding a quiet authority. She is unsensational in her depiction of institutional ignorance and neglect, yet neither does she mince her words.

There is understandable anger behind Stuart Pyper’s late diagnosis with Asperger syndrome and his perennial frustration at the “bar-room brawl inside my skull” but, like Callaghan, he makes deft, poetic allusions to his condition which allows the audience to empathise.

David Nicol, a wheelchair boy racer in his day, attended both special and mainstream schools and has an interesting perspective on how far – or not – society has come in terms of integration. All of which adds up to 45 minutes in the company of three special people – and that definitely doesn’t mean s***e.

Until 12 August. Today 5:15pm.