Reviews - Fringe 2017

Sunshine Steps

By Michael Parente
Published July 18, 2016

Sunshine Steps points towards an understanding of autism

In 20 concise minutes, what we get from Sunshine Steps is a multi-layered perspective on what it means to live with autism. Its impact lies in the way it communicates this to us in different ways.

Grammy is the caregiver to Corey, her autistic grandson and Caitlin, her grand-daughter with theatrical ambitions. Together, they provide a family mosaic of expression that unearths some of the complexities of autism.

Grammy spends much of the play addressing the audience verbally about what it's like to care for an autistic child. She discusses other people's perceptions while being honest about how she feels about Corey's illness.

She expresses many of the frustrations inherent in this kind of situation along with insights that challenge our understandings about a child with autism. Caitlin too provides her unique take on Corey's autism, comparing him to Helen Keller.

However, the play is most effective when it lets Corey communicate in his own unique way, when it lets him take his "sunshine steps". Corey's actions speak louder than Grammy's words and yet both their perspectives paint a picture about what it's like to live with autism.

Sunshine Steps challenges our preconceptions about autism while asking us to listen and understand in different ways.

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