Few images can sum up the desperation and loss at the heart of the issue of assisted dying more succinctly than a man returning from Switzerland's renowned Dignitas clinic with an empty wheelchair. As the controversial issue is debated in parliament once more, Chris Larmer's experiences are a timely reminder of the very real human stories at the heart of a polemical debate all too often fuelled by ideology and sentimentality.
Larmer's one-man show, or presentation, is a poignant account of his November 2010 visit to Dignitas with his chronically-ill wife. It is intimate, moving and, at times, comic, and presents a very personal perspective alongside the wider ethical arguments. An Instinct For Kindness premiered at the 2011 Edinburgh Fringe, winning the prestigious Scotsman Fringe First Award and featuring on the BBC's Newsnight Review as one of their highlights of the festival.
The work has attracted praise for its lack of doe-eyed sentimentality; Larmer negotiating a highly emotive issue with a lighter (although rarely light-hearted) approach, refreshingly free of any 'Dianafication'. Not that audiences will be unmoved. It is the former London's Burning star's matter-of-fact modus operandi which not only coaxes the ethical from the anecdotal but also presents life-changing, and life-ending, events with cool clarity.
After a series of tour dates, An Instinct For Kindness lands at the Trafalgar Studios on Tuesday 10th April, running until the 28th April 2012. We have tickets available now, priced £20. They are expected to sell out.
We also have tickets available for the Newbury performance on 29th March (i.e. this Thursday), priced £10 - £12.