I worry that Carlyn Rhamey’s The ADHD Project may be overlooked because its title doesn’t presume to draw any particular attention (unless ADHD is already a particular interest). I worry that Carlyn Rhamey’s The ADHD Project may be overlooked by there being a lot of solo storytelling this-is-my-life shows that pass through Fringe, making it hard to stand out on those merits.
What should easily overshadow both of those for ye who are reading is Carlyn Rhamey herself.
I had the pleasure of attending Rhamey’s show SAOR last year (one of only four I saw in an uncharacteristically slow year) and that was all I needed for me to rank The ADHD Project high on my list for this year. Here’s why you should do the same.
Rhamey is a gifted and charismatic storyteller, endearing, captivating, and tremendously abuzz with charming energy. (Which sort of ties into the theme of the show, but lets not get ahead of ourselves.) In short, she’s adorable and hard not to like (I may admit to having a low key crush). Given her bubbling personality and superb stage presence – evident from before the show even starts, with Rhamey already out on stage, interacting with the house, commenting how she doesn’t like waiting back stage “pretending I’m not here” – Rhamey is destined to become one of those performers you can bank on to deliver when you sit in their house. At least for me, she’s solidified her place as one my top performers at the festival.
Now to the other half of the equation, The ADHD Project itself. I always find it weird to write about somebody’s personal life story. I have to remind myself that I’m not reviewing the life so much as how the story is presented. In short, if a life-story show isn’t extraordinary and designed to give audiences a vicarious experience they’ll never have, it has to be deeply relatable and heartfelt — it has to give audiences an opportunity to connect on a meaningful level with the storytelller as well as an opportunity to feel the ties in to their own lives.
The ADHD Project succeeds in this, with Rhamey opening her heart about what it’s like to grow up labelled “special,” to be isolated for your difference, and eventually to come to terms with it. In addition to increasing awareness of what it’s like to live with ADHD, The ADHD Project is a sincere and heartfelt presentation, not without its fair share of comedy, about acceptance and finding strength in what makes us different. I found a lot to relate to in this show and I think many will do the same, be they neurodiverse or neurotypical.
But that’s just my opinion and I’d love to know what you think. Do you have any personal or indirect experience with ADHD? What did you think of The ADHD Project? Join the discussion and leave me a comment below.