Learning-disabled artist, Katy Cracknell, reviews Liz Carr’s Assisted Suicide the Musical after seeing the production at the Unlimited Festival, Southbank Centre in September.
It’s a cabaret musical about assisted suicide. Liz Carr presents the facts and figures of suicide, looking at legislation in the UK and abroad. She mentioned that assisted suicide is usually linked to those with long term or terminal illness and not usually with someone with a disability. In the UK the laws are that under the NHS it is considered manslaughter to take someone’s life without discussing options with a doctor or a health professional.
The staging was really interesting and to be placed in choir stalls at the back of the Royal Festival Hall gave a very glittery, jazzy feeling. The actors presented the themes of assisted dying through musical songs and comedy. The singing was very good and in particular one song that stuck in my head was “would you, still love me when I am in a wheelchair” with lyrics addressing issues such as if someone was heavily reliant on their partner or family would they be ‘put down’. The musical was informative and was approached in a way that opened up the conversation.
At one point the performers even tried to come up with another word for Assisted Suicide that was pitched in a meeting. Liz Carr’s views were clearly against assisted suicide. Liz also brought to light that on TV and social media disabled people are often portrayed as ‘victims’. During the performance Liz has an argument with herself on a TV screen, she very clearly says that I have the right to live; I don’t want to be seen as a victim to the government.
In recent years, governmental cuts to the disability and health services has meant that people with learning disabilities and children with multiple learning difficulties don’t have their needs met. The musical covered many different themes and debates.
The show was advertised as an hour starting at 7pm, however the show overran and they could have had an interval, as we didn’t get out until 9pm. So perhaps the programming wasn’t very clear.
I liked that it was done as a musical, as it was a combination of being entertaining, engaging but left you thinking about the subject having given you all the information. I would recommend that you go and see this at a theatre near you.