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 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.


Watching Rosie
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 happening.

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.

Gerald Berkowitz



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Review of  Watching Rosie 2020