The Misfit Analysis

Theatre is, for the most part, about telling stories with the aids of actors, scenery and props; in contrast, stand-up comedy is usually about a single person sharing their perspective of the world – or at least giving us a heightened version of that perspective. While The Misfit Analysis is classified under Theatre in the Fringe programme, this show is arguably much closer in format to stand-up. “A live art exploration into the mind and experience of Cian Binchy” is the no-holds-barred introduction projected onto a screen. Binchy’s goal here isn’t to make some point through a fictitious narrative; instead, he uses a mixture of live action, audience interaction, props, animated films and videos to offer us some sense of what the world is actually like for someone with autism.

There’s only one expert about autism in the room, and we’re looking at him.

It’s unfortunate, of course, that this requires him to spend quite a lot of his time highlighting and then undercutting the most commonly held – and inaccurate – ideas that most of us have about people on “the Autistic Spectrum”. Society, we’re told in no uncertain terms, has got the wrong end of the stick; it’s not that those with autism lack empathy or feelings, they just experience and express them differently. This means that The Misfit Analysis can be an uneasy experience for the audience, and not just those in the front rows who are “invited” on stage to participate in plate-spinning or a fake game-show highlighting the complexities of this particular learning difficulty.

The sad reality is that, unless we know someone in our family or wider social circle who has autism, our most likely source of knowledge will be films like Rain Man and What’s Eating Gilbert Grape? – on occasions, the show is even “interrupted” by clips of Dustin Hoffman and Leonardo DiCaprio “doing” autism. For the more literary among us, of course, it might be Mark Haddon’s best-selling novel, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, or Simon Stephens’ stage adaptation of the book for the National Theatre, on which Binchy became an unpaid consultant. If nothing else, this show makes it clear – quite forcefully, on occasions – that none of this makes us experts. There’s only one expert about autism in the room, and we’re looking at him.

It’s fair to say that the edge of Binchy’s satire feels like it draws blood, not least the short film in which we see how ill-suited he was to the gardening course that some well-meaning support workers recommended – when what he really wanted to do was get into the performing arts. There’s plenty of anger here too, not least at the many life opportunities denied to him, which the rest of us take for granted. But this isn’t simply a rant; this may be a “magical spinning journey” into how he experiences the “angry” world around him, but there’s also fun to be had and the undoubted conclusion of this show is that we are all outsiders in some way. Oh, and that having a learning difficulty is certainly no bar to being able to create genuine and effective art.

Reviews by Paul Fisher Cockburn


One of Two

Scottish Storytelling Centre

Moira in Lockdown

Laughing Horse @ Bar 50

Love and Sex on the Spectrum

Royal Lyceum Theatre

Mrs Puntila And Her Man Matti


Since you’re here…

… we have a small favour to ask. We don't want your money to support a hack's bar bill at Abattoir, but if you have a pound or two spare, we really encourage you to support a good cause. If this review has either helped you discover a gem or avoid a turkey, consider doing some good that will really make a difference.

You can donate to the charity of your choice, but if you're looking for inspiration, there are three charities we really like.

Mama Biashara
Kate Copstick’s charity, Mama Biashara, works with the poorest and most marginalised people in Kenya. They give grants to set up small, sustainable businesses that bring financial independence and security. That five quid you spend on a large glass of House White? They can save someone’s life with that. And the money for a pair of Air Jordans? Will take four women and their fifteen children away from a man who is raping them and into a new life with a moneymaking business for Mum and happiness for the kids.
Donate to Mama Biashara now

Theatre MAD
The Make A Difference Trust fights HIV & AIDS one stage at a time. Their UK and International grant-making strategy is based on five criteria that raise awareness, educate, and provide care and support for the most vulnerable in society. A host of fundraising events, including Bucket Collections, Late Night Cabarets, West End Eurovision, West End Bares and A West End Christmas continue to raise funds for projects both in the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Donate to Theatre MAD now

Acting For Others
Acting for Others provides financial and emotional support to all theatre workers in times of need through the 14 member charities. During the COVID-19 crisis Acting for Others have raised over £1.7m to support theatre workers affected by the pandemic.
Donate to Acting For Others now



The Blurb

Cian has autism. He likes to spin tin-openers. But he’s not an idiot. Journeying through the mischievous mind of a fascinating man, The Misfit Analysis takes us through a world of wheelchairs and blow up dolls in a captivating exploration of an autistic mind. Using multimedia, video projection and performance poetry, Cian playfully questions disability’s place in society. ‘Philosophical, mischievous, and exuberantly accessible’ (Stage on Eye Queue Hear). ‘The power to change theatre’ (Guardian on Access All Areas' Performance Making Diploma). ‘Busting disability arts out of its ghetto’ ( on Eye Queue Hear).

Most Popular See More

The Lion King

From £46.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Matilda the Musical

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets


From £42.00

More Info

Find Tickets

The Play That Goes Wrong

From £27.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Tina - The Tina Turner Musical

From £12.00

More Info

Find Tickets

The Phantom of the Opera

From £30.00

More Info

Find Tickets