A Little Commitment

Unity Theatre, 1 Hope Place, Liverpool
August 30th 2012

Reviewed by Jennifer Keegan

A Little Commitment is brought to Unity by DaDa Fest 2012: a celebration of disability and deaf arts in Liverpool. Comedian Gareth Berliner and comedy actress Kiruna Stamell explore their relationship through anecdotes and stories whilst shining a light on discrimination.

As the audience began filing into the theatre, real life couple Berliner and Stamell, together with an interpreter using sign language, were already in full flow. They chatted away with each other and the audience, encouraging those heading for the back to sit closer to the front, and making fun of those who were a little late. With the banter of a real couple, they worked their way through first meetings, first impressions, friends, sex, toilet issues, appearance, bullies, disabled people in film and orange scousers, with amusing tales and jokes. Their creativity became apparent when they cleverly used ‘wearing glasses’ as a metaphor for any disability. I was very impressed with how the subject was handled - very funny and relaxed but the message was clear and obvious. They successfully highlighted how small-minded people can be.

Both Stamell and Berliner were instantly likeable. Stamell has a natural comedic ability; she can tell a story with great aplomb, almost as if she is a close friend who has popped round for a cup of tea and a gossip. She got the biggest laughs of the night with her easy-going, honest approach to her stories and jokes. Berliner too, has perfected his craft of stand up. With confidence in his presence onstage, he easily manoeuvred the story along, allowing his personality to shine and get the laughs rather than using a heavily scripted routine. Both seemed to be winging it, with off the cuff remarks and allowing themselves to go off on a tangent. This of course, may well have been scripted, but it didn’t feel that way and therein lay their success. The easy going, laid back nature of the show was the making of it. Truly wonderful, very funny and a big success!

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