THEATRE LIFE REVIEW: Bothered and Bewildered

This has to be one of the most poignant plays I have seen in a long while.  We all have heard stories about living with Alzheimer’s, this play puts it front and centre in our consciousness.

Lynne Foster as Irene, the Mother and Alzheimer sufferer, captured perfectly her fear, confusion and in some instances the simple pleasure of not knowing what pain your family are experiencing while you are living in your version of the world.  I felt her anxiety, particularly when reliving her past with her adopted son and secret love.  This was a captivating performance.

Irene’s daughters played by Rachel Curren as Louise and Stephanie Yorke-Edwards as Beth gave quite contrasting performances with their different viewpoints on their mother’s situation which really added to the overall story.

Stephanie gave the appearance of being the tougher of the two sisters but when the dam did eventually break we felt her distress at the loss of her mother to this cruel disease. This was a very real and true to life performance.  Rachel as Louise, who is faced with having her mother move in to “the terrible hotel” showed us the child within the adult, longing to have her mother and father back and struggling to cope with the situation she finds herself in. Rachel is an amazing actress who is capable of peeling back so many layers of a character in the simplest ways.  Both were moving performances.

Barbara Llewellyn as Barbara Cartland gave a dignified and humorous performance bringing so much light relief to what could be otherwise quite a traumatic evening in the theatre.   She has great stage presence and gave a very confident delivery – I thoroughly enjoyed her portrayal.

Terry Cramphorn has great a calming presence in his delivery and throughout this production he gave just the right level of ‘normality’ to contrast against all the emotions on display. The younger cast members tried hard in their different characterisations within the play, unfortunately Sh’i’na McNaught I felt, didn’t quite get under the skin of the character Shelley – she felt a little too shallow in her portrayal of emotion keeping it at a surface level rather than embracing the full depth of feelings that could have been explored but this is possibly down to her age and not having the breadth of experiences to draw on. By contrast, Alexander Bloom as James brought a lump to my throat both in his delivery on the doorstep with his potential birth mother and lastly with the letter.

This play is a dramatic and emotional piece but it has just the right amount of humour in it to make it a very special piece of theatre. I really encourage people to see this as I honestly believe it will resound with you on so many levels and is so well executed that it will be a true shame if more people don’t see what is probably an unknown and an unrecognised play delivered exceptionally well.

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