It’s a very clever tactic to threaten any potential reviewers in an audience that anything less than 4 stars means you are ableist. While it’s incredibly in keeping of the theme of “ableist anxiety” present throughout the show, thankfully tongue-in-cheek threats are not necessary. It’s a Mother F**king Pleasure, on at the Underbelly, is an inventive and refreshing take on disability, corporate culture, and “ableist-anxiety.”
Sick of so-called “pity porn,” the debut show from disabled-led theatre group FlawBored tells the story of a PR company struck by a recent ableist faux pas. In response, they hire a brand ambassador who is brown, gay, and disabled, in an effort to turn disability into an experiential brand. The staging is incredibly clever, with subtitles genuinely making the show more accessible, while providing excellent comic bits. Another example is the use of audio descriptions that both service their aim and cleverly poke fun at the actors.
The plot feels semi-ridiculous until it’s interrupted by examples of real-life companies doing exactly what they are attempting to make fun of. Not to be out-satirised by real life, the plot then takes a Black Mirror-esque turn, which is genuinely shocking and leads to a splendid confrontation scene between two disabled characters with very different views on what is right. The show is constantly forcing the audience to ask difficult questions and face uncomfortable truths.
The show relies on a lot of meta-humour, with the actors switching between playing the characters and themselves. Some jokes are a little too easy, but in general the comedy is strong. The script has room for more jokes; this is particularly notable during the opening sequence. The HR character is a fantastic caricature of modern-day absurdity that can occur in workplaces that ultimately want to do the right thing.
It’s a Mother F**king Pleasure is an ambitious and inventive debut from FlawBored. The show handles incredibly nuanced discussions on disability with great ease. The actors are confident, quick-witted and are obviously very comfortable on stage together. As you will be advised during the show, if you don’t go see it, you’re incredibly ableist.