Mat Fraser, Thalidomide!! A Musical

Review in Issue 18-1 | Spring 2006

Pacy, inventive, sometimes shocking but always funny, Thalidomide!! A Musical is probably not for people who wear political correctness on their sleeves. Written and composed by Mat Fraser, who also performs it with Anna Winslet, it is a raw history of the wonder-drug thalidomide, and its particular effect upon Glyn (Mat Fraser) whose story is traced from infancy to (relative) maturity. Thalidomide!! is also, of course, a show about physical difference that never skirts the issue. The emphasis upon arms, hands, fingers, touching, is signalled at every turn (including wearing dummy arms and prosthetics), cleverly, unashamedly, challenging the audience to look at Mat Fraser and digest his difference. He takes off his shirt – indeed, he changes his shirt in full view of the audience, daring them to concentrate on what he’s saying rather than how he will fasten the buttons. But this is a musical, so he also dances – anything from moonwalking to samba – with real style and energy and sings as though he means it. The songs do help. The lyrics, though sometimes difficult to catch, which is a real shame, are screamingly funny: ‘Talk to the flipper cos the face don’t care / It’s like a stripper with no pubic hair’ is my personal favourite, though (continuing the pubic theme), ‘My pubes are still shaved to a Brazilian / But now I’ve learnt how to do it with my feet’ is a good second. I’m still giggling.

Presenting Artists
Presenting Venue
Date Seen
  1. Nov 2005

This article in the magazine

Issue 18-1
p. 27