A-Typical Rainbow is a rare play: its central subject matter is autism, and it’s written by someone on the autism spectrum. Playwright JJ Green – who plays the role of ‘Boy’ in this show – is an advocate for neurodivergent representation in theatre, so to have this show debuting in London is certainly something to celebrate. It’s also a charming queer coming of age story, full of wonder and discovery.
We’ve become big fans of the Turbine Theatre and their commitment to giving new LGBTQ+ works a platform, and to representing the untold stories of marginalised groups: A-Typical Rainbow is another fine example of this. The audience is invited in to see the world from Green’s point of view, and it’s a fascinating journey. There’s a dreamlike quality to proceedings – indeed the play includes numerous sequences which delve deep into Green’s imagination, where mermaids are as real as anything else in the surrounding world.
While it’s a joy to glimpse inside Green’s glorious technicolour universe, A-Typical Rainbow doesn’t shy away from showing the feelings of loneliness, or the stigma that wider society still attaches to autism. One particularly clever scene, involving a school classroom discussion on ‘The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time’, both simultaneously shows Green’s feelings of validation in recognition of a neurodivergent story being represented in a mainstream story, but also public humiliation as classmates ridicule that story’s protagonist.
The main focus of this story is on Green’s autism diagnosis and what happens following that, but Green’s sexuality is also considered sensitively. The differing approaches of mum and dad, and the inability to bond over stereotypically masculine pursuits such as football, will be moments that many queer people relate to.
A-Typical Rainbow is something quite special and rare – an authentic representation of autism on a London stage. It’s not always an easy watch, recognising the challenges that neurodivergence can bring, but it’s also one that celebrates what makes us all unique. Alongside that, it’s a play full of warmth, joy and humour. Another charming addition to London’s theatre offerings this summer and well worth checking out.
GAY TIMES gives A-Typical Rainbow – 4/5
More information can be found here.