kerbs top

David (Jack Hunter) and Lucy (Maya Coates). Pictures: Patrick Baldwin


Coventry Belgrade


This much anticipated co-production between Belgrade Theatre, Coventry and Graeae played to a highly appreciative audience and it did not disappoint with Graeae’s reputation for delivering powerful, challenging and thought-provoking productions remaining well and truly intact.

Kerbs, written by Michael Southan, is a love story, a romcom with lots of com to go with the rom! It follows the rather hazardous journey of wheelchair users Lucy (Maya Coates) and David (Jack Hunter) as they navigate their love life and their chairs through a minefield of physical and emotional barriers, including kerbs, accessible toilets, and overbearing mothers! Not to mention the thorny or should that be horny question of sex.

They meet on an online dating app and through an innovative use of captioning created by Joshua Pharo, their saucy and suggestive messages (as well as all the text) are cleverly displayed on the set for all to see! Audio descriptions of emojis and selfies enhance the totally accessible experience of this production.

Lucy and David’s first physical meeting, aided by copious cocktails (this is one of many double-entendres) and slightly risky sexual innuendos goes well but, in their haste, to get back to Lucy’s house, she hits a kerb and is thrown from her chair, hurting her arm. It is at this point that the audience start to see behind their bravado as the vulnerability of both characters appears and we are able to understand the potential challenges this couple will face.

Lucy’s efforts to keep the relationship from her overprotective mother are thwarted as they are almost caught out when Lucy attempts to sneak David into her house. They realise that what they really need is a secret get-away for a weekend of the unbridled sex they have constantly talked about!

David has just the idea . . . and plans to whisk Lucy away to a caravan park in Minehead! David’s naïve enthusiasm is dampened and Lucy’s apparent confidence and boldness fade as reality hits them both that it is not possible to just spontaneously go away. Spontaneity needs to be planned. Lucy will need a Personal Assistant. With the ever resourceful (look out for the walkie talkies!) and totally discreet (hiding behind a hoist!) Toni (also played by Rekha John-Cheriyan), the couple embark on a life changing trip.


But dreams and reality don’t always match. Lucy expected nothing less than perfection and was decidedly unimpressed with the cleanliness of the caravan. Lucy’s petulant outburst sent David off to seek sanctuary in karaoke. They tentatively made up but their first night of passion was decidedly not earth moving, leading to a frosty morning reception for David.

Deciding they needed to leave the caravan park, they went to Laser Quest. After a hesitant start, they started to relax and just enjoy each other’s company, without any other pressure. And that is when it all started! A simple kiss led to a more passionate embrace and before you could say ZAP, they were searching for the accessible toilet to continue their quest!

Portrayed in the most powerful and beautiful way, with the aid of Toni and a hoist, (which was assembled in real life on stage), Lucy was raised off her chair and the earth certainly moved – for all of us! As the firework projections showed us.

And they all lived happily ever after, you hope.

Whilst it was a slow build up, the actors seemed to grow in confidence as did their characters and the final climax for all of us was incredible. Lucy’s (Maya Coates) spot on humour and slick delivery of the lines was brilliant and very LOL for the audience. David’s gentle understanding and compassion for Lucy were skilfully portrayed by Jack Hunter.  It was clever casting of Rekha John-Cheriyan playing the manic mother, Carol, juxtaposed by the laissez faire, Martini minded (anytime, anywhere) character of Toni.

Graeae’s ingenious creative captioning created a totally accessible piece of theatre and the additional access resources were available pre-show including easy read guides, a tactile set model, and a pre-show tour.

This piece of theatre will stay with me for a long time.  It was an open, honest and humorous portrayal of two disabled young people discovering each other, sex and sensibility. Directed by Nickie Miles-Wildin, Kerbs will roll along to 05-03-22.

Liz Leck


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