The Theatreguide.London Review
In March 2020 the covid-19 epidemic
forced the closure of all British theatres. Some companies adapted
by putting archive recordings of past productions online, others
by streaming new shows. Until things return to normal we review
the experience of watching live theatre onscreen.
originaltheatreonline.com Summer 2020
This sweet little vignette,
barely ten minutes long, could serve as a public service announcement for
a dementia charity. It gently reminds us, without undue preaching, that
the Covid-19 lockdown can be particularly confusing for those with
dementia and particularly stressful for those who care about them.
Louise Coulthard's script is
a Skype or Zoom visit between a young woman (played by the author) and her
grandmother (Miriam Margolyes).
Grandma is a little
disorganised – she puts flowers upside-down in a vase – and a little
distracted – she jumps from thought to thought. She wonders why her
granddaughter is on television, complains that her carer is stealing her
biscuits and tries to fix the younger woman up with the delivery boy (Amit
Shah) at the front door.
The granddaughter is
obviously pained by Grandma's deterioration, but the actress also lets us
catch flashes of impatience and annoyance, and of the guilt that
immediately follows them.
Playwright, actors and
director Michael Fentiman very wisely and sensitively do not overstate
their case. Rosie is clearly in the earliest stages of her decline and
could easily pass for just being mildly eccentric, and it is really the
granddaughter's concern that signals us that something serious is
Nothing really upsetting
occurs before our eyes, and the unhappy drama lies almost entirely in the
knowledge that things will inescapably get worse.
It is a slight piece but a touching one, and further evidence that the nascent art form of online theatre can be viable and effective.
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