Date: 9 may 2015
Contact Manchester’s Flying Solo Festival celebrates the ability of one artist to hold the stage and the interest of the audience for an entire performance. It makes for an intensive and rewarding experience for the theatre goers and this is particularly true of Jackie Hagan’s show, Some People Have Too Many Legs.
Just before Jackie starts her main show, she comes out onto the stage and introduces herself to the audience, who according to her, ‘look just like Facebook, little squares, only your faces are moving’. Her direct, honest and optimistic style makes her instantly likeable and when she tells us that she is pleased to be performing in the Contact Theatre on this side of Oxford Road, rather than residing as an inpatient over the road at the MRI- where she was 2 years ago when she developed blood clots in her right leg, we share her enthusiasm and appetite for storytelling and performance.
Jackie Hagan is a luminous storyteller, when she relays important happenings in her life – growing up, loss and grief and falling in love during challenging times – she does it with positivity and determination. She juxtaposes feelings of fear and sadness with her sparkly optimism and imagination – her well paced humour glitters throughout engaging our hearts and minds as we wonder what she might reveal to us next.
A white tent, equipped with fairy lights and white lace provide the staging for Jackie’s story. This setting works well as an intimate frame for flashbacks and as a stark and sterile backdrop for the hospital ward. Jackie explores the various coping methods that she found some comfort in when she became an amputee and she also animates a week by week account which assist us in understanding her experience. It is not self pitying but positive and uplifting especially when the performance becomes interactive and we are invited to open the envelopes that we were given at the start of the show. We all share in Jackie’s dream sequence as she holds up a handwritten banner which says “I know you have had to cope too.”
“You’ll notice that where most of you have got a tube of meat I’ve got a pillar of glitter”
Some People Have Too Many Legs is an inspirational show that can be appreciated by everyone. Jackie Hagan’s straight talking, bubbly and empowering persona translates well in performance – not every disabled person wants to be called brave or become a Paralympian. This show is testament that a very beautiful, amusing and cathartic piece of art can emerge from the most difficult of situations and sometimes we all have to “throw some glitter at it in the only way you can”.
You can visit Jackie Hagan’s blog if you click here.