Mia: Daughters of Fortune

The Stage / Dave Fargnoli

Packed with ideas and delivered with infectious enthusiasm, Mia: Daughters of Fortune examines the challenges facing parents with learning disabilities.

A series of sketches based in part on research undertaken by the company, the show jumps fluidly from in-character scenes to informative micro-lectures. Crisp sections of dance and more abstract movement, choreographed by Karen Bartholomew, feature trust falls and tender gestures, mixing wildness with delicacy.

The four-strong cast – each of whom has a learning disability – throw themselves energetically into their performances, with JoAnne Haines standing out in particular, peppering each sequence with ad libs and asides. Anna Gray demonstrates impressive focus and a fine comic flair throughout.

Well-integrated technological elements fill out the production. At one point, as Haines is interviewed by social workers, a live camera zooms in invasively close, then turns its gaze downwards to stare uncomfortably at her feet. Snippets of documentary footage juxtapose the callous condescension of the past with more hopeful contemporary interviews.

Director Joyce Nga Yu Lee sets a fast pace which smooths over her text’s hyperactive, fragmentary feel. Poignant, yet without a shred of self-pity, her production is leavened further by a hefty dose of silly, sometimes pleasantly dark, humour.