Spring Day (which, believe it or not, is her real name) encourages us to laugh along with her, as she shares personal stories of both physical and emotional pain. She wants to bring out the schadenfreude in all of us – and it's no mean feat to get people laughing about your struggles with mild cerebral palsy in a midday slot.
The show centres around Day's misfortunes, notably a recent knee injury (cue gory scar), but also the long-term stigma she has faced with her lifelong condition. Her “friends” try to set her up with people who also have some sort of physical disability, as if that is all you need to spark a blossoming relationship. But Day is determined to see the funny side of this prejudice – and it's that which brings out the show's real cathartic core.
Day wants us to empathise rather than sympathise, reminding us that we are allowed to laugh, even when – as is the nature of a reserved British audience – you are under the impression that to laugh at someone's incurable condition would be in bad taste. Here the show can become difficult; but that, you feel, is partly the point. Not sharing the laughs is almost acknowledging that the prejudice is justified, and perpetuating the stigma.
Interwoven with these personal musings – and encounters with people who believe her condition is curable – Day covers cultural differences between the Western world that raised her, and Japan, where she now lives. These outsider observations of Eastern practices turns out very insightful, especially on the topics of healthcare, marriage, and why you shouldn't eat at high street sushi chain restaurants.
Day is a thoughtful conversationalist; her show feels very natural, and unscripted at times. She bounces anecdotes off the audience and even though the big laughs never quite fill the room, there is a consistent titter. Her understated charisma as a performer helps when she explores darker avenues like death, disability fetishes, and rape. She doesn't spend too long dwelling on these subjects; I feel she could push things further in a quest to heighten the schadenfreude she craves.
All in all, this is an enjoyable show with a fair bit of cringe (to do with content more than delivery). It leaves you with plenty to think about, but perhaps doesn’t deliver the stitches promised by the title.