ASL’s “MammaMia” – A Review
By Ian Beckett
HAVING experienced the superb food and drink, and spontaneous entertainment, provided by the ASL Tea Room At David Livingstone URC in Harlow, when Michelle Tohill, who manages Aspire Support Learn, invited me to see her team perform “MammaMia” at Victoria Hall Theatre, I jumped at the chance.
Michelle and ASL have a growing number of ardent community supporters, and when you see how work, learning, and social environments are transformed by allowing people to express themselves, and empowering them to be themselves, it’s plain to see why.
The show uses the “MammaMia” soundtrack and storyline, and if you’re not familiar with that, it’s love, loss and laughter in a Taverna on a Greek Island. Or a big party around lives fallen apart, reunited, reconciled and transformed. This wasn’t group karaoke, it was impassioned people sharing their interpretation of the story.
Michelle modestly told me in the interval that all she does is create a safe environment for self-expression and that she choreographs around what those in her group can and can’t do. Michelle adds “There’s no professionalism involved”. I beg to differ. It takes a huge degree of insight to create, entertain and take on, head on, the unnecessary taboo of difference, the way ASL does.
ASL chose a poignant song from “The Greatest Showman” for their curtain call, and the 20 individuals, of varying ages and abilities, ethic origins and backgrounds, hopes, dreams and aspirations, owned the words:
“When the sharpest words wanna cut me down,
I’m gonna send a flood, gonna drown them out,
I am brave, I am bruised,
I am who I’m meant to be, this is me”.
First class ASL!
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