DaDaFest is an innovative and cutting edge disability and Deaf arts organisation based in Liverpool who pride themselves on inspiring, developing and celebrating talent in disability and deaf arts. This Autumn, Merseyside is proud to once again host ‘DaDaFest International’ which is a festival that showcases all kinds of comedy, music, art, projects, theatre and much more which all aim to challenge stereotypes and celebrate disability and D/deaf cultures.

Francesca Martinez, a London based comedian who describes herself as ‘wobbly’, is no stranger to the entertainment business as a regular face of television, who has also written a bestselling book entitled “'WHAT THE **** IS NORMAL?!” Francesca is now on the road with her namesake hit stand-up comedy which premiered at the Unity Theatre tonight as part of DaDaFest.

There is no doubt that this lady is funny as she caught the audience’s attention from the start with her discussion about how ironically difficult ‘speech impediment’ is to say and proceeded to ask ‘who put the ‘s’ in lisp’ much to the audiences amusement. During ‘What the **** is normal’ Francesca entertained as a solo act for over an hour with some impressive material that was very fluent and well-rehearsed showing off her impressive physical and mental stamina, as well as her memory. Francesca has a clear love, passion and enthusiasm for what she does and this shone through her unwavering performance.

Francesca spoke about some of the social, economic and cultural challenges faced by people with disabilities and the way in which she has been discriminated against in the past. She managed to incorporate these central topics into her act in a comedic way that kept the crowd entertained but also shared her crucial take home messages with the audience.

Francesca promoted positive self-esteem and cherishing each moment in a way that was refreshing, empowering and uplifting. Not only did Francesca deliver her rehearsed material in style, but she demonstrated her quick and natural wit when she invited an audience member on the stage for a short sketch.

Overall 'What the **** is normal’ communicates for everyone to accept and love themselves for who they are and to embrace diversity and equality. This show is worth watching to broaden your horizons and support such wonderful unique entertainment on our doorstep. However what was most memorable about this production was Francesca Martinez’s vibrant, lively and cheerful spirit that filled the room with positivity, joy and fun that radiates even after you’ve left the theatre. Find out more about DaDaFest International and book tickets at

Reviewer Blathine Maguire

Reviewed: 23rd November 2018

North West End Rating: ★★★★