Tuesday, October 3

Baby Belle: Young, Dumb and full of Autism – Greenside @ Infirmary Street

Jax Braithwaite is at the Edinburgh Fringe to tell a personal story. It’s about a slow awakening to personal identity.

A one-person show, Jax took a last-minute opening at the Fringe and put this piece together because it matters. The show is funny and warm and aimed at both the neurodivergent and as an edutainment piece, where those who fit the norm might better appreciate that autism is as nuanced and individual as each individual on this planet.

It’s a tale of how they discovered their autism as an adult. As an aging linguistics graduate, I wonder if, over time, he and she will disappear altogether. If so, what will the French do? But I digress. Jax’s story is told through song and direct address. It is very relatable. And it makes me think.

As an older person, I wonder if the profusion of hyper-connectivity through the internet is responsible for young people’s laser focus and hyper-anxiety about identity. In my day, everyone was pretty much accepted as they were, more or less. People found their little group of friends and it didn’t matter what everyone else was doing, because you had no idea. We couldn’t watch films on demand or on repeat so that messages became embedded. The repetitious, idealising of a stereotype. male or female, was not so intense that you’d feel outside the norm if you didn’t quite buy into it. We were free.

Computers were welcomed with the belief they’d reduce work demands free everyone up to live a fuller life. Instead, we are asked to document everything because we can. And we do.  And here we are glued to twaddle on social media and wondering if we’re weird. And that’s without even going into the field of autistic traits. As I said, this show made me think.

My thoughts are an extension to what I saw on stage. And that’s a measure of an interesting show, don’t you think?

I really enjoyed some of the songs and I really enjoyed Jax Braithwaite as a person.

Their (it’s a plural …) personality shines through: the learning to drive episode made me laugh; the song about their cat was silly and charming. I could just picture a little girl in her bedroom writing songs in a delightfully geeky way, completely delighted with her creation. This performer oozes warmth and charm and silliness.

Catch Jax if you can. The show’s only on till Saturday.

Reviewer: Kathleen Mansfield

Reviewed: 13th August 2023

North West End UK Rating:

Rating: 4 out of 5.