Autistic License – Dublin Fringe Festival – Review
Performances – 21–25 September @ 20:00, 24 & 25 September @ 13:00 – Bewley’s Cafe Theatre
In this one-man comedy show, Ian Lynam takes us on a whistle-stop tour of Autism. We get a slide show to explain when it was first diagnosed along with a variety of unusual theories on what causes it. We get to hear how Hollywood has dealt with Autism, from its earliest representations right up to the present day. We also get to hear about Ian himself and how life is for a young man with Autism in Ireland.
The small stage in Bewleys has a couple of pot plants and an armchair centre stage. Although it does look quite simple, Ian has a few tricks up his sleeve, with some unusual props hidden on stage. There is also a pre-recorded track with the voice of a doctor used (as he says himself) as a framing device to move the production along!
The section on the history of Autism is quite fascinating and shows the variety of physicians trying to come up with a diagnosis, cause and treatment for Autism. He discusses Dr. Hans Asperger, the rather lovely Austrian physician with links to the Nazi party, who still to this day is remembered for Asperger Syndrome. There is also something quite topical about the show as it delves into the first emergence of the Anti-vax movement. We hear about Andrew Wakefield (the one time Doctor now struck off the medical register) and his theory that the MMR vaccine caused Autism. The movement has other claims for the Covid vaccine, including that it makes you magnetic!
The section on Autism’s representation in film tells of how Rain Man made a generation of viewers think that people with Autism had superpowers! Ian does shatter the illusion by saying that he’s not that good at Maths.
While you may know the majority of what Ian discusses during the show, it’s certainly good to hear it all in the one place. It’s a light and good-humoured production that gives an insight for the neuro-typical on what it must be like to live in a world that’s designed for people whose brains work differently from your own.