Maggie Crane: Side by Side

Side by Side is a gripping and profound comedy show about Maggie Crane’s childhood jealousy of her brother’s disability. Tackling death, competitiveness and American pop/rock band, Panic! At The Disco, Crane’s show crafts a beautiful and nuanced picture of a life with painful adversities that simultaneously welcomes teasing and laughter, leaving you deeply moved and thoroughly entertained.

Beneath the laughter is a powerful message

There is so much to say about this show that it feels near impossible to know where to start. After Crane confesses her love for Brendon Urie in a familiar irony-fuelled stand-up opening, she takes us back to the beginning of her story. The vivid portrait Crane paints of her family creates a quirky world in which we blissfully dwell for the duration of the performance. Imitations of her harsh Irish-Catholic mother are hysterical, as are her revealing quips about life growing up in the Boston Woods.

Much of the show recounts her priceless childhood diva tantrums which centre on her envy towards the attention her brother received and unbelievably competitive nature that did not discriminate. Crane remembers her firm refusal to treat her brother any differently, describing her characterful childish stubbornness and embodiment of ‘pain-in-the-ass little sister’. Beneath the laughter is a powerful message: her childhood rejection of tiptoeing and othering brilliantly upturns the patronisation of disabilities so commonly seen in society.

Crane is consistently honest, poking fun at herself throughout the show—particularly her competitive edge. She is sassy, ironic, tongue-in-cheek, and a great story-teller, which is captivating to watch. Full of nostalgia and tear-jerking memories, one feels continuously snapped in and out of laughter and sorrow again and again; however, the tone is never self-important. Crane questions her own reaction to the difficulties her and her family faced, whilst also pointing out the lack of disability awareness in today’s society.

Maggie Crane’s Side by Side is a hilarious take on disability and true equal treatment. One feels privileged to hear her story, all the while shamelessly laughing about it.

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Reviews by Isabella Thompson

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The Blurb

Maggie Crane's older brother had it all: a purple sparkly wheelchair and everyone's attention. This darkly funny stand-up show is an autobiographical coming-of-age story about disability, death, and Dunkin' Donuts. Aiden was Maggie's best friend and biggest rival. In their family, hospital visits felt like Disneyland and drug smuggling trips were international vacations. Maggie's first crush was a doctor and her first love was... the lead singer of Panic at the Disco? Side by Side will break your heart, make you laugh, and get you to call your brother.

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