"From Freak To Clique?", the title of Mat Fraser's new show, cheekily charts the history of disability portrayal on stage, screen, and ridiculous real life, including his own career. Using his trademark blend of un-PC comedy, poignant words and songs, poetry and characters, this will challenge and entertain in equal measures. From Tom Thumb to Top Gun, from freak shows to clique ho's, from Sandy (Crossroads) to Andy (Little Britain), it covers all the major players in the classic one man show format.
Not for the easily offended, or under 16s.
This performance was part of The Sackler Conference for Arts Education - From the Margins to the Core? - An international conference exploring the shifting roles and increasing significance of diversity and equality in contemporary museum and heritage policy and practice held at The Sackler Centre, V&A, 24-26 March 2010.
Title: Mat Fraser….
[Mat Fraser’s voice over title sequence]
“….stars in tonight’s very special show “From Freak to Clique”. That’s right a very special disability show (animal dinosaur sound). For all people to celebrate their differences, deformities and deafness, and their myopias, melanomas and mutations.”
Title: From Freak to Clique
Clips from Mat Fraser’s performance on stage
“I should tell you about my arms really. A lot of people don’t know why I look like this. People under 30 don’t know. In the early 60’s my mother along with thousands of other women all over Canada and Europe (most of all) was pregnant and she had morning sickness as many women do in the first trimester of her pregnancy. The local doctor, she was actually onto it in Leicester, uncannily Richard as it goes (reference to audience member Richard Sandell, University of Leicester) as it goes although I’m not blaming you…unless of course you’re father was doctor in the early 60’s.”
“He had this new wonder drug which was the first ever non barbiturate pain killer that the profit hungry drug company were aggressively asserting for all the doctors to prescribe and he did provide her famously thalidomide which she took three times in one week. And here I am with short arms and no thumbs. That miracle of human evolution the opposable digit, that sets apart the humans from the animals such as squirrels and mutants such as I.”
Clip of Mat Fraser doing a T-Rex impression and sound effect
“I’ve got respect for anyone with Paraplegia, Tourette Syndrome or Parkinson’s disease, a state of shock coma or schizophrenia, or any one of those other disabilities. No I will not criticize if you’ve non functioning eye’s, I’ll just celebrate your refusal to see. It would be boring if we were all the same, because we’re all just a little bit different and you know I think that’s something that we should celebrate. So if you’ve got two heads or need hoisting into bed, I’ll just celebrate your disability. A little bit wobbly because of your cerebral palsy, I’ll just celebrate your disability … yeeeee hah!”
“I used to feel so sorry for the disabled kid who’d joined the fire service for the day on ‘Jim’ll Fix It’ and they had the head of the fire team there didn’t they:
(in a Jimmy Savile accent) “So now then, now then, do you think this little man, this brave little solider, would make a good fireman?”
“Not really Jim he’s a (bleep sound effect) quadriplegic!”
Mat Fraser does a strip tease with fake arms on set to upbeat music
“Some impairments are ok in some genres of media. In music it’s blind isn’t it? Blind ‘Oh bleep that’s cool isn’t it?!’ Stevie Wonder, Jeff Healy, Blind Lemon Shandy, my mate Dave again, he’s blind; I just think that’s really weird. Like if a member of the pussy cat dolls had cerebra palsy that would be pretty radical wouldn’t it? “Don’t you think your girlfriend was spice like me urrrgh (does a facial impression)” It’s not gonna happen is it? But it should, it should happen.”
“Disabled performers years ago had just one outlet, the freak show. We’ve come so far after since beginning so low the audience of yesterday just didn’t know. In these post modern times we’re all in the know you, celebrate the liberals in guise to this show, my emancipated stage craft makes you glow to not a disabled performance but a disabled pro. You’d accept us in a classic play and Mis Saigon with Downs could be theatrical bliss. Am I ahead of myself or are you ready for this? Please don’t laugh when I use my arms or I’ll think you’re taking the piss.”