REVIEW: The Nature of Forgetting

*****

By Isabella Fraser

A heartfelt, beautifully rendered glimpse into living with the impact of dementia, this physical theatre piece by Theatre Re interprets the lived experience through the eyes of a man with early onset dementia.

At first glance, this young team of actors – accompanied by live musicians – seem the wrong fit for the subject area. As the story unfolds however, it all becomes clearer, as the main character remembers back to his teenage years, meeting the woman who would become his wife.

This production has a vast array of costumes, props and scene changes. Often this would have the potential to be distracting and unnecessary for a fringe show. However, the team makes this work seamlessly, with the interchange of desks and chairs in the schoolroom scenes particularly of note. The choreography of the scene changes and the movement switches in and out of reality are slick, a complement to the work that has gone into producing the storyline of this piece. The dance of set changes helps with the flow of the story and never feels intrusive; instead it adds to the every changing movement that goes on in the main character’s mind.

There are a great deal of scenes that hark back to the same time period. It helps the story to unfold and offer a background history to the man on stage, but it feels a little overdone by the end of the piece: this could be trimmed and still maintain the same effect on the audience. Nonetheless, these scenes are fun and tempered with the joy of that time of youth. It would also have been good to see some other time periods included, but as dementia can cause a person to be believe they are young again, it doesn’t necessary feel out of place.

Because there is very little spoken work, there is allowance for the audience to interpret and recognise events from a personal experience. There were some tears in the audience at key moments, so tissues are recommended. A challenging and engaging piece, this is well worth the ticket price.

The Nature of Forgetting runs @ 12 noon @ the Pleasance Courtyard until 27/08/17. Running time I hour 15 mins.

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