FRESH FROM winning a Fringe First Award at Edinburgh, Sonya Kelly’s acclaimed one-woman show, The Wheelchair on My Face, comes to the Town Hall Theatre next week for one night only.
Part memoir, part theatre, part stand-up comedy, The Wheelchair on My Face relates the hilarious and poignant story of Kelly’s myopic childhood.
As a young child Kelly was thought by her family to be exceptionally affectionate as she was always sitting on people’s knees and touching their faces – in fact it was her only way of seeing who it was she was talking to.
Her extreme short-sightedness remained undetected for years, which made for a somewhat bewildering childhood, the details of which are related by Kelly in side-splittingly funny detail.
“I got my first pair of glasses when I was seven,” Kelly informs her audience. “A nurse came to the school and tested everyone’s eyes. And so it was discovered why I’d thrown bread to the floating crisp packets in our local pond and walked into lampposts and said, ‘Excuse me’. Until that day the world was a swirl of moving coloured blobs. I thought it was the same for everyone. How wrong I was.”
Wheelchair On My Face was developed and is produced by Fishamble Theatre Company and is directed by Gina Moxley. Kelly herself is an established actress with appearances at the Gate, Druid, and Corn Exchange among her credits. She has been doing stand-up comedy since 2006 and performed throughout Ireland, Britain, and the US. She also writes and performs for RTÉ sketch show, The Savage Eye.
Wheelchair On My Face fuses Kelly’s theatrical and stand-up skills into a warmly engaging and often very touching show, one that she herself has described as Little Miss Sunshine meets My Left Foot.
One memorable narrative strand in the show describes Kelly’s childhood fantasy of being friends with ABBA and having the Swedish popmeisters residing in her wardrobe.
“I was trying to get across a time when there was no internet or thousands of Spongebob Squarepants to watch,” Kelly stated. “Staring into an album cover for hours on end was quite a viable entertainment pursuit. I still love ABBA. My ultimate dream is to do the show at the Ice Hotel in Sweden for them, if only to hear the muffled applause of their reindeer skin mittens.”
Wheelchair On My Face has met with unanimous popular and critical acclaim since its premiere at last year’s Absolut Fringe Festival in Dublin. The Sunday Independent hailed it as “a delightful hour, full of wit and keen observation along with the odd pull at the heartstrings”; RTÉ’s Arena found it “beautifully evocative”; and The Sunday Business Post commented “wonderfully fresh script...highly endearing”. In short, a show not to be missed.
The Wheelchair On My Face is at the Town Hall Theatre on Wednesday October 3 at 8pm. Tickets are €14/12 and are available from the Town Hall on 091 - 569777 and www.tht.ie