Everything’s Going to be KO begins with an educational psychologist. Shapes, numbers and letters are shown in an increasingly confusing series of exercises. They seem daunting and impossible to get right. This is the moment that our performer, Kaiya Stone, realised she was different. At least, it’s the moment she was diagnosed that way at 20 years old. Hints of something amiss had been a consistent feature of her childhood, as this offbeat and quirky show from Transgress Productions reveals. Dyslexia, dyspraxia and ADHD take the stage in an immersive experience of living with a learning problem.
Dyslexia, dyspraxia and ADHD take the stage in an immersive experience of living with a learning problem.
Stone is a natural storyteller. She’s warm, friendly and generally a pleasure to spend an hour with. She takes us through her life with great likeability and, as a result, she has no trouble evoking empathy in the show’s more touching segments. Though video and audio snippets make a frequent appearance, they often feel unnecessary. The best parts of the performance are Stone’s monologues. In these stripped-back moments, her honesty is at its most powerful. I did, however, appreciate the use of a familiar classroom sight, the overhead projector, which effectively conveyed Stone’s struggles with writing.
Everything’s Going to be KO takes on an interesting approach to disability. Stone has done well to achieve a place at Oxford in spite of her learning problems, but this is not intended to be a ‘rags to riches’ story. There are moments when Stone’s learning problems could have been noticed and acted upon, but they weren’t. This is entirely her own journey, but it feels as much like a voice to those who have fallen through the cracks in education. Though anger is present, it doesn’t overwhelm the production.
This show is a light yet thought-provoking celebration of neurodiversity which is bound to broaden anyone’s mind. In contrast to her school experience, Stone offers an education for all.