The Deaf and Disability Arts festival is back in Liverpool now, with a series of events at several venues around the city until September. It’s important to remember that this is an international festival too, not simply a city-wide spectacle – it just happens to take place in our city. Good eh?

DaDaFest offers a sometimes-challenging, often-funny and occasionally-weird smorgasbord of events – musical, comedic, artistic, theatrical and physical – that’s brought together under a fairly broad umbrella.

Not all of it will suit everyone. Our experience of DaDaFest is that we enjoyed some events immensely but found others hard going. Not an assessment you’ll read in many previews, perhaps, but an honest one. What DaDaFest does offers are very rare, unlikely and unexpected delights, lending the entire event something of a lucky dip aspect.

The festival brings many acts that are not usually seen at Liverpool’s venues. At what other point, for example, could you see a show by a man who’s written a comic-book superhero called SuperCrip; a show called Catholic Erotica (facial disfigurement versus Catholic guilt for lack of sexual development); a show about experiencing heart failure at the age of 30 and a documentary about a group of Congolese musicians who became stars playing guitars from their wheelchairs? Not many, we reckon.

In the year of the Paralympics, Niet Normaal invited us to ponder what we mean by normal. It can be an uncomfortable question given that we tend to make snap judgements on people according to their physical appearance.

Another undeniable highlight will be Evelyn Glennie’s recital at the Philharmonic, followed by a discussion about the percussionist’s music.

Liverpool strikes us as a good venue for DaDaFest, famous for its welcome to people of all creeds and colours – but it will be interesting to see how easily disabled people find it to navigate the city and its venues. The Get Around Town interactive game will highlight just how disabled-friendly our city is.

It’s a fascinating opportunity to see Liverpool in a different light. And DaDaFest offers many opportunities to experience something extraordinary.

DaDaFest 2012
Various Venues
Until 2 September

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