DISABILITY care may not seem like a particularly funny topic on which to base a comedy, but the surrealist black humour of Beyond the 4th Wall at The Met is a triumph.

Devised and performed by members of 15-strong theatre company Proud and Loud Arts, the play explores how personal dignity and independence can be maintained by the recipients of professional care.

The production is set in what seems to be paradise: a darkly futuristic cul-de-sac in which every whim of the body is catered for in an instant.

It follows defectors to the flawed outside world Taylor, Katie and Peter as they struggle to find a reality in which they feel they can invest.

Company members, who have a range of physical and learning difficulties, created the script in collaboration with award-winning playwright Cathy Crabb and so were able to voice their own understandings of the world of care.

In the segregated cul-de-sac, kindness is cruelty and the overbearing consideration of the ‘ablers’ who run the home is both suffocating and deeply patronising.

The laughs come thick and fast, with particular hilarity drawn from Philip Breadney as outspoken Jamie, Michael Gleave’s impeccable comic flair as Barry, and Toby Taylor as the cantankerous Leonard. But the performance isn’t always easy viewing, as was never intended.

Angry, political and critical of conventional stereotypes regarding disability, Beyond the 4th Wall is deeply thought-provoking.

Audience participation meant the fourth wall was, at times, literally broken, thus implicating us as viewers in the cast’s musings on the visibility, or invisibility, of disability in our society.

Posing questions on our own perhaps uneasy attitudes to care against a backdrop of government cuts to disability allowances, Proud and Loud Arts here deliver a confident performance which resonates long after leaving the theatre.

Proud and Loud Arts ended their current touring across the North West at Warrington last Saturday (May 18).