Wednesday, 10 February 2021

REVIEW: Good Day Bad Day By Karen Featherstone online at Graeae

Graeae Theatre Companies Crips Without Constraints: Part Two has been showcasing some of the UK’s finest up and coming disabled writers and directors every Tuesday since January 16. Yesterday, February 10, Good Day Bad Day, was released and marks the end of the series. After the success of the first season of Crips Without Constraints, streamed online in Spring 2020, Part Two has consolidated the concept into a simple yet challenging format of five online short plays all innovative, thought provoking and entertaining in their own right. I can say that I have thoroughly enjoyed the privilege to review the majority of them.

Good day Bad Day written by Karen Featherstone and directed by Alexandra Whiteley is a short n sweet, sophisticated concept that offers an insight into the objectification of a disabled body and the continuous inner battle one has to go through to overcome it. 

Using the device of a split screen, a disabled woman played by Cherylee Houston (Coronation Street) is duplicated and shown conversing with herself. The first version of the woman has an optimistic point of view about ‘everyday’ interactions she has had with people uncomfortable or ignorant about her disability and the other has a pessimistic one. There is no right response presented here, just two extreme reactions debating balance amongst inequality.

Featherstone's writing cuts through the complexities people often project onto someone with a physiology different form their own. The double image highlights the frustration of a person who has to be in constant negotiation over how to react to what might be, for example, something intended as kindness but is in fact patronising and restrictive. Literally and metaphorically in this pice we are presented with the duplicity that exists in both actions and responses.

Houston offers a charismatic and honest performance. Her portrayal of the same, but different, character is effective and avoids the trap of being too ‘obvious’. Unfortunately she is slightly let down by the quality filming. Low production values can be overlooked to a point when the writing and performance are as captivating as they are here, however, very dim lighting and at times clunky editing slows the pace and makes the audience have to work a little harder. 

Graeae have successfully taken advantage of technology during a time when live theatre is not possible and used it to transmit powerful stories to an audience with no boundaries. Good Day Bad Day rounds up what has been an enjoyable month of online theatre.

You can catch each play online at: and

Each play will be released online every Tuesday at midday from 19 January until 16 February 2021. All pieces will be captioned and audio described.

Review by Stephanie Osztreicher

Rating: ★★★

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