Thalidomide: The Musical
Lawrence Carter-Long writes,
British actor Mat Fraser continues to provoke audiences with his latest project, "Thalidomide: The Musical."
The drug Thalidomide caused more than 400 babies to be born with disabilities -- often characterized by shortened limbs --in the UK in the late 1950s and early 1960s, and has provoked a wide array of strong reactions, including the scorn of animal rights activists and greater mistrust of pharmaceutical companies in general.
It would be safe to say this is probably the first time the drug has caused anyone to break into song. But song and dance are central to this irreverent and non-PC take on disability. Being a musical, the show has a love story running throughout between Glyn, a Thalidomide boy, and Katie, who falls for him at school but who becomes obsessed with his short arms.
Having performed "Thalidomide" twice to London audiences, Fraser and his able-bodied co-star Anna Winslet are about to embark on a regional tour of England that runs through November.
"I don't believe any subject is too dark for comedy or musical theatre," Fraser told BBC News. Still, Fraser is unsure how his dark humor will be received. "I'm steeling myself for a few heated debates in the bar after the show," he said.