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Feature: "Matthew's Passion" Drama Review

Posted by rsmash on July 27, 2013 at 11:40 AM

July 27th 2013: David Malins reviews the Sherman Theatre drama "Matthew's Passion" (AKA Always question what you think you know about autism) for The and for Radio SMASH International

For the written text of this review, click here:

Review of Matthew's Passion (AKA Always question what you think you know about autism)




Whilst there has been many films, books and documentaries on Autistic Spectrum Conditions about, which look at the issues surrounding those diagnosed, very rarely has any awareness made it onto the stage and actually exercised the limits of Autistic characters into new and complex scenes that interact with the audiences senses (not to mention perceptions)..... Until now

Matthew's Passion is the theatre production held from Wednesday 24th to Saturday 27 July 2013 at the Sherman Theatre, looking at the life of a church family with a son named Matthew, whose interest in birds and relations with his community is challenged by unfolding events around him that is vivid for the audience to get a true "autistic eye" for the scenes as they progress - This eye-level above all is what sets this production apart from others into a well choreographed and freely-flowing performance, as well as always making sure the audience is questioning at all times what is really going on throughout, always daring to take the situations Matthew's character has to face to new levels.



Even as an autistic adult myself, I was faced upon first entering the theatre with a mirror of myself. As if without direction as people were getting seated to enjoy the performance, I was immediately bombarded by the sound of birds and smoke filling the room like morning dew fog, and as if it were just a typical day our protagonist Matthew is sat listening and patiently observing a countryside setting that was being formed - well before the suggested "start" of the performance.


The actor playing him maintains this characteristic throughout, which added a realism and consistency that never disappears til the end despite the apparent mundane simplicity of his routine - The character from the off is so refreshingly alive, as if passively shouting at the world "I'm fine thanks - I don't need you".


At this point, if it were not for the conclusion of all the events he's about to face from those around him, then I'd would have been happy to conclude it there. However, the events that follow are so dramatic that we almost feel like we know him and want the simplistic calm he brings us to never end.....


At the start of the performance, we are presented with the supposedly "perfect" rural church community that his parents and their friends live in: This is a veneer that peels off scene by scene - all the while Matthew maintains with dedication his routine, which is interrupted every now and again by his family who want him more involved in their "perfect" world and following the footsteps of his father in the church.


Inevitably the Protagonist and the antagonistic outside world is doomed to repeat an initial comedy of errors and misjudgements, which is further complicated by the intervention of a suggested visitor (Martin) that has been brought in to help Matthew broaden his interests and assist his understanding through music.


It is made obvious that this "perfect" community that Matthew is increasingly encouraged into is about to fracture - the only constant still being Matthew's routine that perpetuates regardless.

His professor-like understanding of birds that is his only basis for what is happening around him may sound vague and naive, but like a good poet, is far better at explaining the where what how and why of each situation, even if the other characters cannot attune themselves to hear his often cryptically wise words. The truth of the matter is that you see that he listens far more to the community he lives in, far more than they ever do for him - even life altering decisions are plucked cruelly from him just because his community thinks he isn't even part of the scenes playing out.... but he always is in one form or another still observant and very real.


The other characters lives are in upheaval:

- The reverend father who has looked through rose-tinted lenses without care until now, finally coming to terms that he was selfish and naive all along...but maybe not in any deliberately obsessive way (suggesting he may well be more like Matthew in many ways, trying to find that calming routine in his life through his preisthood work)

- The mother, who despite secretly wanting to up and leave Matthew and his father, is drawn to realise that she should have done more to find her own calming routine and followed her heart to find happiness through her son, but is too late to stop losing everything she teasures.....

- The lay-preecher: Whilst being caring and devoted to her work is sometimes overpowering and completely overlooks the impacts of her actions, as she thinks that will provide some routine to the community, despite the fact that events in her life are decidedly worse than that of the community she serves (and they don't really think much of her either - providing some of the most comical scenes in the entire production)...

-The visitor Martin: Whose life is also uprooted by the "perfect" community that he entered into, forcing him out of a strangely familiar routine to escape the chaos ensuing, and ousted from Matthew's life, where Martin provided him the only real help understanding and joining in the crazy world around him. His voice is the one we hear to retell this drama with painful reflection...


(I know what you're thinking, yes, I did mention "routine" in all 4 character overviews - because it displays itself as a primary goal of all characters - the goal that only Matthew has perfected with seamless ease until now...)


With his community's world in pieces and the future uncertain and scary for the new discoveries he made, he clings on mortally to hope: and for the last time, he goes into his calm, always constant routine:


Then we're hit with a big shock when the routine mutates into action, where every face in the audience turns to shock, and as a mother realises too late the love for her son, as this correct but naive young professor puts his theory into mortal practice......


routine and calmness is replaced by silence more unpleasant than the loudest sounds, and with it a part of the world Matthew was always part of disappears forever like a bird on the wind.....


In conclusion, the acting was fantastic from the off, the portrayal was extremely engaging and 3-Dimensional, the comic relief elements were deliciously deceiving plotlines that added to the unfolding drama, the use of multi-scene acts in the performance added both depth and a unique view that expanded for the audience events as they happened, the use of similes and literalism between the conversations with Matthew and the rest of the cast showed clearly the difficulties that both Aspies and "normal" people have to overcome and compromise around on a daily basis to make their lives work together. Above all, unlike other portrayals in film and tv in the past, the accurateness of our principle character and protaganist was both faithfully accurate, endearing and especially LIVING - A living, breathing and observant autistic individual - An actor that performs so well his role that he makes you forget he's a performer and more like any other human being on the spectrum (I had to pinch myself to not feel naturally uncomfortable with someone who would act very similar to myself - but this only added to the enjoyment and realism of the performance) It was also convincing right up to his rather unexpected demise that continued the comedy of errors to a heart wrenching conclusion, leaving always a question: Are we the ones who are right or is he right? A question and dillema that will continue to be asked well beyond that night, haunting those supposed "experts" in society that think that they know what Autism is - and for that, I thank the performers, the writers, to the National Autistic Society who were on hand in the foyer with information leaflets to educate the public as they saw the performance, and to my fellow aspies who inspired the work of Mike James who with the whole production team made this all possible. You have set the standard for further works of this kind and for that I salute you

Supreme Commander Malins


Torquing Motorsport DCU Premier Show Launched

Posted by rsmash on June 1, 2013 at 2:35 PM

Radio SMASH International: The Micronational Premier of The Torquing Motorsport Show, presented by DCU Wales' very own Comms Officer Lt. Alex Jones, looking at the season ahead in the Formula 1 world, transmitted earlier on Community Radio Station GTFM

KOREAN CRISIS: DCU Emergency Comms network begins test

Posted by rsmash on March 10, 2013 at 5:05 PM

CIVIL DEFENSE BUREAU: KOREAN CRISIS: The DCU Government has stated that it is to begin tests of the Emegency Civil Communications network and asks for citizens, allies and other contacts to inform them as to what method they wish to be contacted in during an emergency, so that these mechanisms can be tested: This is due to a worrying rise in international tensions, that may lead to the need for civil defense actions being implemented to warn DCU and allied citizens in case the situation in the Korean peninsula triggers a world war. Radio entusiasts are particularly requested to assist in an emergency. Visit to have your say on the implimentation of this strategy or post a comment below this post .


DCU dismayed at Flat Holm destruction proposal

Posted by rsmash on February 3, 2013 at 10:45 AM

DCU Wales Region: DCU authorities are alarmed at the prospect that has been leaked out of Cardiff Council to "Cease Operation of Flat Holm Island and Consider Options for its Disposal” - The Supreme Commander speaking as a geographer said the statement has "colossal and irreparable implications if carried out to the Island that is a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI)" - He also mentioned that he would speak with the DCU Protectorate Government of Lundy to see if there is a viablility to put Flat Holm into the remit of defense by DCU Forces Lundy. In the meanwhile, the UK public in the area has put together a petition that has reached 1,000 signatures so far against the Cardiff Council proposal located here More to follow

Request for testimony & audio for next podcast

Posted by rsmash on January 31, 2013 at 12:20 AM

Radio SMASH International is asking other members of the micronational community for their opinions on the subject "Have Micronations Had Their Day?" for the next podcast. Send your mp3 files or testimony to us via

RS to start DX-listening BBC Radio Cymru over Welsh Language Artist fee Debackle

Posted by rsmash on January 10, 2013 at 2:05 AM

Radio SMASH International is to start DX-listening and reporting of the operations of Welsh-Language station BBC Radio Cymru from today amid a debackle between the BBC in Wales and the new Welsh-Language artist society Eos that DCU Wales Regional Authorities is calling a "confusing and alarming situation for Media" in the DCU Welsh region of influence.

The confusion comes over the 30,000 songs that BBC Radio Cymru is no longer licenced to play since the refusal by Eos on New Years Day. Radio SMASH and the DCU Communications Federation has stated that the figures given to sustain the service and the artists is questionable and says neither the BBC nor Eos are making their cases very clear, hence bring real risk that the dispute will shut BBC Radio Cymru unnecercerily.

Some analysts say that Radio Cornwall, who runs a similar service on commercial lines for Kernow's cornish language output, cost so much less to run in comparison to BBC Radio Cymru's Welsh Language output, with no real explination as to why this is.

Others including Radio SMASH International have questioned the impact being had on the 30,000 tracks in question, being split amongst only 331 Welsh-Language artists, whom upon analysis would have to have individually produced at least 91 individual tracks on average for their whole careers, which would have to grow exponentially  on average amongst an even smaller number due to the number of new-and-upcoming artists in Eos that are involved.

Radio SMASH International and the DCU Communications Federation have released this statement: "It is unclear how this helps either BBC Radio Cymru, other Welsh-Language Public Service stations like S4C and Eos, who were formerly members of PRS/PPS - Neither one seem to be able to justify either's existence or expense - the figures from both camps and the expenditure on both simply don't add up without more clarification and more transparency of detailed figures to justify their arguments in this crisis. Whilst Welsh media has always been difficult to run due to the unique geographic, social, economic and environmental conditions in the area, both parties seem very 'stuck in their ways' when it comes to the changing media landscape and population tastes in Wales. Since the media is a strong industry in the DCU Wales region, the DCU and Radio SMASH International felt it right to initiate it's own analysis and DX-listening of the situation of broadcasting in Wales in light of these very serious developments"

The incident comes 6 months after another crisis of broadcasting in the DCU occured, where a group that was providing opportunities and an economic lifeline for DCU citizens in the region decided to not take seriously risks to the industry and concerns over the way it was run, ending in a deadlock and an ongoing inquiry against the management of the media organisation concerned - the inquiry only launched once the management of the service concerned had been suspected of being involved into acts of treason against senior members of the DCU Government.


Posted by rsmash on December 20, 2012 at 7:25 PM

DCU DAY 10TH ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATIONS: 10 years to the day, the DCU was founded. At the time, it consisted of various local groups, with the intention to protect the interests of the individual, vulnerable or independent, whatever their point of view, and to allow a commonwealth to exist of skills, talent, resources and information, to keep those communities, groups and individuals united. The Wormbridge Treaty was a pinnacle document which gave birth to this and reiterated these principles, as well as led to the formation of DCU Basic State Law and the Parallel Independence Declaration. From that moment on, what was learnt from those founding groups, was transformed into a micronational entity. Now on December 21st 2012, not only are we looking back at our successes, but of opportunities to come to make a positive difference to those in the South West, as well as the wider world at large, including our citizens and allies in the UK. The Supreme Commander is also celebrating his 26th Birthday. When asked about the irony that his birthday date and time falls on the Mayan "Doomsday prophecy", he has commented that despite recent problems in the UK, that it is highly unlikely on current analysis of world events that the world will end at 7pm. However, he also stated that he's always been "lucky as a tiger" according to Chinese philosophy, and joked that if we do go out, at least it will be "with a big bang ;) ". He hopes that another milestone will also be reached by the creating of the second "made in the DCU" product, an A4 fabric DCU Flag: This is to be used as a demonstration of self-sufficiency efforts and aims of the nation that is currently a long term goal that will allow further development. Further statements and news will appear throughout the day. On behalf of the DCU Government, we wish you all a happy DCU DAY! :)

DXing: Seasteading movement offers another form of micronationalism (Source: NPR Media)

Posted by rsmash on December 20, 2012 at 7:25 AM

Micronational "DX" listeners will be interested to hear of a cast that was released on the 17th Dec 2012, as part of NPR Media's "All Tech Considered" section. The free 5 minuite podcast and accompanying article describes an ever-growing Silicon Valley idea of "seasteading" as a new and progressive form of micronationalism, pioneered by the Seasteading Institute: The main features include an excerpt of a seasteader meeting, as well as opening notes from it's visionary Patri Friedman. Despite the over-dependence on capitalist ventures for this project, it is however interesting to listen to. Full information is available via NPR's website: