by Tim Elgood.
Tour To 14 June 2015.
Runs 2hr One interval.
Review: Timothy Ramsden 2 June at The Castle Wellingborough.
Dramatic structure and stage design intensify skilfully performed reality.
“Unforgettable/In every way,” sang Nat King Cole. Tim Elgood’s new play doubly undermines the idea. It shows what happens when the heart outlives the brain – saying it’s about dementia risks making it sound worthily dull, which it isn’t. Elgood shows rather than describes, so the impact’s received through the characters. He also makes clear how time and aging bring changes unconnected with any medical condition.
Jed and Rosie, in their sixties, have led quietly successful if unfulfilled lives. Their father’s death leaves elderly mother, with dementia, to be looked-after. Sister and brother respond differently but reluctant Rosie’s sucked-in to a supervisory schedule along with the more willing Jed. His most difficult time came years back, when recruited to the ranks of Best Men making their worst-ever speech, at her wedding. The siblings’ mother remains invisible, even when apparently in their midst – for she’s in another world even when amongst them.
Both of them have a way with words in their jobs, with Rosie bitingly critical about everything. Elgood provides a couple of hints of a like-mother-like-daughter future for her. But the full impact of what’s implied eventually arrives in scenes played by the characters’ younger selves, young Rosie aged into a mind-darkened future, alongside a physically impaired Jed.
Young actors playing old characters are generally unconvincing, which is the point here. Hayley Doherty and Adam Donaldson remind us simply by their presence of the characters when young, something overlaid by their acting the characters in very old age, which is both the future reality and a distortion of their youth.
Their scenes across the generations also establish a context for the present-day characters. Lennox Greaves utterly convinces as someone who has compromised hopes with experience and is determined to make the best of matters, while Anna Lindup skilfully shows a ready wit curdled by sourness into continuing sniping.
Theresa Keogh’s production for New Perspectives has a pace which keeps solemnity at bay – whatever the problems, these lives go on being lived. Gem Greaves’ set adds its own dimension after the interval as realism combines with a sense of fragmentation.
Jed: Lennox Greaves.
Rosie: Anna Lindup.
Young Rosie: Hayley Doherty.
Young Jed: Adam Donaldson.
Director: Theresa Keogh.
Designer: Gem Greaves.
Lighting: Mark Pritchard.
Sound: Drew Baumohl.
11 Jun 7.30pm Geddington Village Hall
12 Jun 7.30pm Gretton Village Hall
13 Jun 7.45pm Key Theatre Studio Peterborough 01733 207239 www.vivacity-peterborough.com/venues/key-theatre
14 Jun Crich Glebe Field Centre