Usually disabled people are just trying to do the right thing. But what if they weren’t? What if they were out to make as much money as possible from non-disabled, anxious people like us?
Developed with a healthy dose of scepticism and unhealthy serving of cynicism It’s a Motherf**king Pleasure has transferred to the Soho Theatre after a sell-out run at the VAULT Festival 2023. Flawbored and Asylum Arts have created a show that examines ableism and the fetishisation of identity through the first hand experiences of disabled people.
Written and performed by Samuel Brewer, Aarian Mehrabani and Chloe Palmer, the three start the show by explaining who they are and what they look like for anyone who may be visually impaired. Samuel (a blind person themselves) jokes by asking a question that requires the audience to raise their hands – the joke being that obviously, he can’t see them. The show is captioned, with dialogue shown on a screen (for d/Deaf and Hard of Hearing audience members) and audio described by the cast as they go along (what is on the stage, what they are wearing etc).
We then launch into the story. Someone at large PR company RIZE (yes, spelled with a Z) has ‘done an ableism’…very publicly. At the behest of non-disabled HR manager Helen Richardson (Chloe Palmer) all staff are required to undergo training on how to support disabled people.
Weaponising RIZE’s able-anxiety, disabled talent manager Tim (Samuel Brewer) strives to make disability an experiential brand where disabled voices should represent disabled voices. Otherwise, that’s still ableist, right? Using the malleable, fame-hungry triple threat Ross (Blind, Gay & Brown), Tim begins to manipulate those around him. Together, he and Ross (Aarian Mehrabani) push to make disability the next cultural cachet people scramble for.
It’s a Motherf**king Pleasure is a funny and thought-provoking story that spreads the message that it’s not ok for big companies to exploit those with a high profile to endorse sponsorship deals just to demonstrate they are current and ‘care’ when in fact what they are doing is more damaging. The big story right now which proves this point is Tik Tok star Dylan Mulvaney who has been documenting their transition from male to female on the social media platform for the last year. She has recently been hired by Mabelline, Nike and Bud Light to promote their products, causing backlash from transphobic people, unleashing a barrage of abuse to Dylan, whilst the brands sit back and enjoy the publicity.
Proving that even small-scale productions can create accessible performances which cater to all (even down to the press release that was sent out about the show, including image descriptions has been thought of), It’s a Motherf**king Pleasure really makes you sit back and check your privilege.
Reviewed by West End Wilma