Review of “Michaela’s Fluent Aphasia”: A Poignant Exploration of Memory, Communication, and Healing

London – Michaela’s Fluent Aphasia is a beautifully poignant exploration of memory and the essence of communication, whether through art, language, or relationships. It captures the comfort and the excruciating pain that come when these means of connection are suddenly taken away. The narrative also delves into the journey of rediscovering oneself amid a challenging and non-linear healing process.

Michaela’s life is irrevocably altered by a brain surgery that saves her life but leaves her with Fluent Aphasia, a condition that robs her of speech. Prior to the surgery, Michaela admits to her boyfriend, Will—who is also the surgeon performing the operation—that she feels everything revolves around him, hinting at a sense of losing herself even before her condition manifests.

Initially, language is a sanctuary for Michaela, an aspiring poet, as illustrated by her poignant line, “My love for you could fill cathedrals.” This vivid imagery by Christina Carrafiell encapsulates the ethereal nature of deep love, an emotion that transcends the physical realm. It also provides a window into Michaela’s longing and loneliness and
her desperate need to connect. The play invites the audience to empathize with the emotional disconnection that can seep into relationships, even with those closest to us—a disconnection that becomes even more pronounced after
Michaela’s surgery.

Christina Carrafiell strong direction masterfully portrays Michaela’s internal and external struggles. And Christina’s performance as Michaela is profoundly moving, as she articulates each word and sound effortlessly in her mind while her body struggles to keep up. This portrayal of physical and emotional trauma highlights our reliance on communication as a cornerstone of happiness and functionality.

Carrafiell’s writing also elegantly explore music as another form of communication. Michaela finds solace in music, providing her with a temporary but cathartic means of expression. The evolving friendship between Michaela and her psychologist, Julia, beautifully portrayed by Delphi Evans, is compelling. As Julia helps Michaela relearn to speak, their bond grows, symbolized by their sweet guitar duets and joyous dancing to rock music. This celebration of music as a language suggests that it can sometimes convey what words cannot, perhaps even more powerfully.

The play underscores the delicate nature of creativity, that vital spark that defines us, and the profound pain of losing it. Yet, it also shows creativity as a path to healing. Michaela’s connection to music and Theo’s expression of love through his art exemplify this. Julia’s playful admission, “I don’t mind being worshipped,” reflects Michaela’s early desire to be seen and heard, emphasizing the liberation that comes from being loved and understood. Michaela’s Fluent Aphasia reminds us of the fragility of human connection and the importance of cherishing every moment.

A truly moving piece, Christina Carrafiell’s writing is both tender and joyous, brought to life with empathy, warmth, and passion by the entire cast. It’s a story that lingers long after you leave the theatre, and I eagerly anticipate future works from this talented group of creatives!

The Show will play in Scotland this summer at a date to be confirmed.

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Francesca Lombardo is a freelance journalist. She holds a Master's degree in journalism from the LCC of London and her articles has been published by the Financial Times, Daily Mail, Mail on Sunday, Sunday Times, Sunday Telegraph, The Herald, Sunday Express, Daily Express, Irish Independent, The Sunday Business Post, A Place in the Sun, Ryanair Magazine, Easyjet Magazine, CNBC magazine, Voyager magazine, Portugal Magazine, Travel Trade Gazette, House Hunter in the sun, Homes Worldwide and to Italian outlets, Repubblica, D Repubblica, L'Espresso, Il Venerdì, Vogue, Vogue Uomo, Vogue Casa, GQ, Il Sole 24 Ore, F Magazine, TU Style, La Stampa, "A", Gioia. Francesca Lombardo has trained at the business desks of the Sunday Times, Daily Mail and Daily Express. She has authored a children's book series titled Beatrice and the London Bus. website:

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