Digital review: Hot Coals & Talking Bodies

The first two films are now available in the Talking Bodies series from Hot Coals Productions.

Planned as a series of seven, they are inspired by Alan Bennett’s classic Talking Heads series and will tell the surprising, shocking, sad and funny stories of the Deaf, Disabled and Neurodiverse through a monologue form.

Hot Coals return to HOMEScreen following their 2020 lockdown film My Darling Christopher. The two films of Talking Bodies now available are We Care and Indefinitely.

Promotional image for We Care

In We Care, a beautiful and funny piece takes a dark turn with devastating consequences, as Annie (Steph Lacey, writer and performer) finds herself let down by the system meant to help her.

Directed by Clare-Louise English, this monologue has heart and humour (“always put your lipstick on for Lidl”). Annie, her body having failed her, has a perky and brilliant mind, refusing to feel self-pity.

With on-screen captions and excellent production values, We Care gets to the heart of a broken system where vulnerable people are dependent on the ability and compassion of strangers in their own personal space.

When her regular carer falls ill, and a new “manly man” takes her place, events become awful and humiliating for Annie. The switch from the confident woman to the fearful one is marked and believable.

Lacey performs her own piece with dignity and inner fire, and you can connect with her on a friendly level while feeling for her situation.

An important and affecting piece about “people needing people.”


Production image for Indefinitely

In Indefinitely, Jack Hunter performs in Karl Knights’s scathing and painful look at the UK’s benefit system for the disabled and its horrific consequences.

Directed again by English, this monologue looks at the 2017 changes to the Disability Living Allowance which was replaced by the Personal Independence Payment.

If you have seen Francesca Martinez’s All of Us, you will already be aware of several stories of those let down by bureaucratic decisions relating to your health.

In Indefinitely, the story of one young man’s independence is placed in the spotlight as he “tells things I have never told a soul.” Hunter’s performance exudes pride, confidence, and frustration as his character is given the runaround, told “he is no longer a disabled person.”

Knights’s words are sharp, scathing, and sensitive. These are stories we have heard over and over (think I, Daniel Blake), where those with disabilities are disregarded, misunderstood, and misinterpreted.

“They even check your social media … looking for pictures of you not looking miserable.” A harsh assessment on a bleak world, this is a piece which gives a true gut punch by its conclusion.


You can rent both films now until 17 Jul from HOME in Manchester – details here.

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