Birds of Paradise - Don’t.Make.Tea. - Mon 2 October 2022 - Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh (© photographer - Andy Catlin

The Guardian 24 March 2024

It is 2037 and the government has instituted a new system for assessing claims for disability benefits. Having listened to complaints about the old questionnaire, it has reframed its evaluation in more positive terms. This, goes the slogan, is “accessible Britain: a country we can all use”, and now everyone can be provided with work that suits their ability.

For Chris (Gillian Dean), the very thought is excruciating. A former police officer, she reluctantly quit her job because of oculopharyngeal muscular dystrophy (OPMD), which is causing her body to progressively weaken and her eyesight to fade. The interview with her upbeat assessor, Ralph (Neil John Gibson), blandly following Department for Work and Pensions protocol, is a cat-and-mouse game of evasion and entrapment. Chris cannot win. [READ MORE]

By Mark Fisher

MARK FISHER is a freelance theatre critic and feature writer based in Edinburgh and has written about theatre in Scotland since the late-1980s. He is a theatre critic for The Guardian, a former editor of The List magazine and a frequent contributor to the Scotsman and other publications. He is the co-editor of the play anthology Made in Scotland (1995), and the author of The Edinburgh Fringe Survival Guide (2012) and How to Write About Theatre (2015) – all Bloomsbury Methuen Drama. He is also the editor of The XTC Bumper Book of Fun for Boys and Girls and What Do You Call That Noise? An XTC Discovery Book (both Mark Fisher Ltd).