The subject of the effect of the Alzheimer’s condition on the individual and thereby his family is a bit of a blank canvas for a writer, as this form of dementia and memory loss varies so much in each case. Here we see how Devon (Tony Tanner) lapses in and out of ‘normality’ when trying to communicate with his family – wife Bess, played by Suzanne Hunt, and his daughter Angie, Elyse Ashton. Their frustrations and sorrow must remain contained as is possible as they try to understand their husband/father’s declining mental health, while he often exercises his anger and fear by articulating his feelings with biting vocal dexterity. The dialogue is detailed, sometimes a little cumbersome and over explanatory, but there is enough good stuff here for the company (which also includes Andrew Thacher and Kent Minault) to play with and the story telling is at times poignant and moving. Tanner’s central role as the ailing Devon is pivotal to the narrative and Hunt and Ashton, although dealt some over poetic lines from time to time, please as the devastated close relatives, losing the man they once knew. Easy, simple staging allows the audience to engage and listen – no bells and whistles here (and, well, no set to speak of) means this is a play where the words and emotion are centre stage.
What I didn't like
The conclusion of the play seemed a little odd – without giving it away, it was unexpected (not always a bad thing) but also jarred with where the plot seemed to be heading. Almost a twist that doesn’t quite pay off. This left a strange over riding feeling for the characters. Although ultimately we resolve with a family united, it seemed, after all we had been through, somewhat unlikely.
My overall impression
An interesting, well presented evening of new writing, and with some trimming and a little more clarity, could be a cracking play. (Also nice to hear a British accent in a leading role!)