//Tuning In// review from neurodivergent audience member
Sam is a neurodiverent (autistic) twenty-year-old with mental health issues. He is training as a motor mechanic. He takes a range of prescribed medications to help him manage life.
What did you think of the production?
S: I can understand why some neurotypical people might struggle to understand it. I think it is a good glimpse into mental health as a whole, especially the reliance on medication – legal or illegal – to manage mental health. I think people who have mental health issues are more likely to take drugs of some sort or another. I think the actor did a very good job of capturing the false sense of security that medication gives a lot of people and what happens when that fails – because it does!
Did it feel relatable?
S: I could find myself relating to a lot of the thought processes and the storyline as a whole. I think it did a very good job with the subtleties like how they would change the light based on the scene and emotion it was setting. I was doubting that originally when I saw just a single chair and a radio. I was like ‘this is going to get a little bit boring!’ but they did a really good job of utilizing what they had to the maximum.
Do you think it is realistic in representing those who are autistic or have mental health issues?
S: I don’t think it is accurate for all cases, especially neurodivergents who aren’t so typical, but I felt it was really accurate in representing what I go through.
What do you think to the actor? – who also wrote it by the way. Was he believable in the part?
S: Yes, he was believable. Some things were slightly exaggerated I feel but I think that was so that they would be communicated well and not missed by the audience. So that made it more noticeable and made important things stand out.
Would this be a show you’d recommend to people who wanted to know more about the kind of things you go through as someone who is neurodivergent and has mental health issues?
S: Yes, I would. I would say it is a good representation of the struggles neurodivergent people go through.
Which part was the most relatable?
S: Either when their hands touched the first time, or when his medication disappeared, or when he realised Cameron was very argumentative and he really enjoyed the arguments. The way he started getting into the flow of things. The difference in the different clubs and atmosphere – that kind of thing. Despite the fact we couldn’t see that atmosphere, they built it up well.
Were the words up on the screen helpful or not?
S: They definitely added to the scenes – especially when they dropped out when he was de-stimulating. The neurodivergent mind is always thinking multiple thoughts so for them to suddenly go when de-stimulation is taking place is really accurate. It set the tone really well.
Were the sound effects at the right level?
S: I think it did it well. There was a couple of moments where it got a little bit loud. I personally could handle that, I don’t know if everyone else would but it was fine for me.
How did you find the accessibility of the studio theatre itself? Did you feel safe?
S: I could have done with a slightly bigger room – it was a little bit claustrophobic. A different exit would have been good because it was difficult to leave, if you needed to, as you had to walk in front of the stage in front of everyone.
Bonus Question: What gender did you think Cameron was?
S: Now that was interesting because they used ‘them’ all the time. I thought Cameron identified as a male but I noticed that Reagan was up to date with the use of pronouns. A lot of people prefer to use they/them as standard to avoid any potential fall out.
To find out more and book tickets for the show, head to the //Tuning In// page here.