Review: Louder Is Not Always Clearer at Summerhall

As the audience enters Jonny Cotsen is sitting behind his desk on his computer. Born deaf, Jonny has always felt more comfortable on the internet and he uses this medium throughout the show: speaking to his audience through text projected on the screen and even live tweeting.

As the show begins Jonny takes us on an immersive experience of his world. We learn how deaf people are to speak, how they learn to make the sounds to build words with. We learn about his childhood in rural Wales, his relationship with his mother and his love of art and swimming.

Teenage dates are, unsurprisingly, a good source of comedy. Through mime and interpretative dance, Jonny guides us through the pleasure he takes in nightclubbing and his fear of sex in the dark. Audience participation is obligatory and a layered soundscape, built up by on-stage DJ Chris, gives us a sense of the disorientating sensory overload that hearings-aids can induce.

At times the show can feel a bit fragmented, certain moments feel like repetitions rather than progressions. However, Jonny pulls it all together for the ending, a series of impression caricatures of hearing people and a rousing sign-language karaoke sing-a-long for everyone to join in on.

Louder is not always clearer runs at  Summerhall – TechCube 0 at 14:30 until the 25th (not the 12th or 19th).

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