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Garry Robson inspires not a few Raspberry Ripples / 4 February 2011

It's four in the morning, late on in January, I’m writing this blog on a tired Olivetti, London is cold but i like where I’m living, there’s music at the Oval House on every evening (well Tues to Saturday to be precise)

And Jayne.... Bloody 'ell.

Lenny Cohen i must be feeling melancholy. Curiously enough i always find him really uplifting. Must be an age thing.

Here i am sans the English Capital again, in what after another lovely time at Theatre Royal Stratford East is starting to feel like a second home. Of course its pretty much the same for crip turns as abally bo dyes. You wanna work then get thee to London Dick! Or i suppose if you wanna get Dick then... ooh matron!

Two days in to the remount of Raspberry at the Oval and I’m loving it all over again. I’ve rewritten it a wee bit and the marvellous Mr Dougall (Director) and wondrous Keith Macintyre (Designer) have restaged it slightly against the Ovals stark brickwork. So far its just great to be able to do it again and reknew my acquaintance with the irascible, outrageous, pathetically needy, wonderfully giving, killer clown that is Spasticus. The audiences feel really different.

On the last tour once we’d left Scotland - where crip led work in the key theatres we played, The Traverse, Dundee Rep and our spiritual home The Tron, tends to attract a broad audience – we were. with a few honourable exceptions playing pretty much to the tried and the tested “ghetto” audience. A failure in imagination on the part of our marketers and bookers. I don’t know but down here its starting to feel quite different. More like doing a fringe show where initially at least you tend to pull in a pretty random audience.

I wonder if this is down to the striking poster campaign which can be found in a tube station near you as we speak. We did the same in Glasgow and it worked wonders up there and it seems to be having the same effect in London.

Or whether it the allure of the old reprobate himself. Whatever’s doing it, its just great to get the sense that you’re reaching a whole new audience, it maybe takes them a bit longer to get it, but when they do they’re bowled along by the music, the gags and some great performances.

A couple of years ago you wouldn’t have got great odds on staging a feisty, entertaining musical that places crip culture at centre stage and that people want to see and enjoy. Now would you believe it you turn your back for a minute and two come along at the same time.

Both shows a million miles away from the patronising tosh of Glee and the rest of the industries feeble attempts to represent us in all our richness and complexity. You couldn’t make it up...

Keywords: disability art,ian dury,london,performing arts,