Adelaide Fringe – History of Autism – 3.5K

History of Autism is an honest, compelling and witty production which explores the history of Autism and its current misunderstandings.

The production’s use of humour is persuasive and innovative. The writing is witty and entertaining but conveys a clear and informative message. The story tells the tale of Autism from ‘the boy who was raised by wolves’ to the modern diagnosis. The story is comprised of multiple scenes set across the world and the nineteenth century.  During stage breaks digital stories of the actors are told, these stories are frank and heart-warming. In my favourite tale, one of the actresses asserts that she has achieved everything in her life because of her Autism, instead of in spite of it. The set is Spartan, but is employed cleverly. The lack of props brings the audience’s eye back to the performers. Apart from a few missed or slipped lines, the performance is strong, particularly the impersonations and accents. The Elvis impersonation is particularly entertaining.

The entire cast is on the Autism Spectrum. This gives an interesting and somewhat uncommon perspective to the performance. For this reason many of these stories and many of the skits in the main performance raise interesting questions and concepts. The play asks why Autism and those affected by it are not more openly discussed in modern society. Further it seeks to remove the stigma surrounding the Autism spectrum. In this regard it does well; through absolute transparency and open discussion these issues are raised and talked about.

The history of Autism is tragic, riddled with misdiagnoses and incompetence. But the tale is fascinating in spite of this. The tale is well performed and the personal stories are raw and enlightening.


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