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The Press

Cracking Up! has played to nearly 900 people  - with sell-out shows in London’s west end and venues in the south east Click here and has received positive reviews from both audiences and the national press (Guardian, BBC and Disability Now).

Quote: Cracking Up! proves that a comedy show about mental health can be hilarious...... It's a relief to see an agenda-led project, which mixes arts with education, deliver its message without preaching. Quote: Most people would think instinctively that the subject of suicide is something that could never, ever be funny, but in the show that's exactly what Gareth Berliner manages to do.

James Anthony
The Guardian

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Claudia Hammond, Presenter - All in the Mind
BBC Radio4

Click here to listen to programme


Quote: While Gareth's honesty and courage initially shocks the audience - who at first are a little unsure if they should be laughing at such sensitive material - it gains their trust and attention, and for many, proves to be one of most memorable parts of the show. The comedy has toured the south-east with audiences responding well to mix of laughter and thought-provoking comment. Quote: It feels like the contributors have been empowered, getting their stories across... It's a heady mix... cunningly manipulative!

Anna-Marie Lever, Health reporter
BBC News

Kelly Mullan
Disability Now

Quote: the credit of John, fellow performers and the show's producer Maya Twardzicki (a psychologist working with mental health services in Surrey) Cracking Up turned out to be very funny.

Mental Health Today (March 2011)
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Naomi Delap, Managing Director
Inside Job Productions

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Show Commissioners

Quote startsI was incredibly impressed with the show. It’s no easy task to broach the subject of mental illness, whilst being genuinely funny at the same time.
I think Cracking Up achieved its aim... to broach a very sensitive and taboo topic area, whilst challenging people’s preconceptions and reduce the stigma surrounding mental ill health.
Quote ends

Andy Kinash - Health Service Journal Conference Producer
Mental Health Congress Nov, 2010


Quote startsThere is anger and sadness as there should be, as well as lots of really funny moments. Through this combination, the audience is drawn into recognising the loneliness of mental illness and how people grow wise through experiencing it.  For me, this really works. I would thoroughly recommend Cracking Up – it is a good way to raise the issues, and really entertaining.Quote ends

Caroline Leveaux - Assistant Director
Mental Health and Secondary Care,
NHS Kensington and Chelsea
The Science Museum, Oct 2010


Quote startsHolding a mirror up to society and using humour to explore and explode stigma is a powerful way to bring change. Laughter is truly a magnificent medicine – so we need to keep cracking up. The show is both funny and challenging.Quote ends

Rachel Hughes - Board Member
New Deal for Communities, Haringey
Bernie Grant Centre, Nov 2009


Quote startsPowerful, poignant and hilarious. A must see for anyone interested in the human conditionQuote ends

Susannah Price – Producer
Arts and Minds Festival
The Junction, Cambridge, Oct 2010

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Quote startsFantastic, controversial, thought provoking and extremely importantQuote ends  
Quote startsVery funny, made me aware of information I never knew. Very refreshing, a good night outQuote ends

Quote startsHILARIOUS! Very informativeQuote ends

  Quote startsGreat fun, very smart.. makes you laugh, but makes you think about what you are laughing aboutQuote ends
Quote startsTopical and sensitive, but funny and effectively highlights issues around mental health. Everyone should see this!Quote ends  
  Quote startsThought it was very funny and thought provoking.
Normalised the fact that everyone can go through problemsQuote ends
Quote startsIt was simply brilliant. Lots of meaning and cleverly dedicated to an important issue in a funny wayQuote ends  
  Quote startsVery good. Brilliant mix of comedy & health educationQuote ends
Quote startsGood way of getting across a serious message, breaking down peoples'
preconceptionsQuote ends
  Quote startsThe whole show highlighted hidden problems very sensitively, but also entertained!Quote ends
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The shows Cracking Up! and Bringing the Outside In have won:

  • A regional Health and Social Care Award from the NHS Institute for Innovation and Improvement
  • An Arts and Health Award and Special Commendation from the Royal Society for Public Health
  • Highly Commended in the Best Short Documentry Category of the Scottish Mental and Arts Film Festival 2011
Health and Social Care Award from the NHS Institute for Innovation and Improvement
Special Commendation from the Royal Society of Public Health
John Ryan and Maya TwardzickiJohn Ryan and Maya Twardzicki with the Health & Social Care Award



Special Commendation from the
Royal Society of Public Health

Health and Social Care Award from the NHS Institute for Innovation and Improvement

'Bringing the Outside In'
Highly Commended in the Best Short Documentary Category

Scottish Mental Health and Arts Film Festival 2011. Click hereFabio Award



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