In Other Words – The Hope Theatre

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In Other Words

Reviewed by Elvan faik

In Other Words is a simple show which highlights the power of love and music in our lives.  The story of Arthur and Jane is a simple one, in which they meet, marry and love each other, before Arthur develops dementia and their relationship begins to resemble that of patient and carer.  

Both Matthew Seager (who wrote the play as well as performing as Arthur) and Celeste Dodwell who plays Jane produce thoughtful and moving performances as a couple whose experiences are recognisably every day; from the first meet cute in which he clumsily spills his wine on her, Arthur charms both his future wife and the audience with jokes, songs and stories, while the couple’s favourite song (and Arthur’s terrible renditions of it) become an in-joke for both the couple and the audience –drawing us in to their story.  However, as the couple settle down and grow older it becomes clear that Arthur is not well and wife Jane becomes the story teller who charts the confusion and loss that comes with dementia.  Through her discussions with the doctor we hear Jane’s grief and Dodwell is incredibly moving as she describes the feelings of loss, sadness and anger that she feels.

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If the play feels like a very real exploration of the challenges of living with dementia and Alzheimers, it is based on some serious research inspired by a series of sensory stimulation workshops in a dementia care home which playwright and lead actor Matthew Seager took part in. The Alzheimers Society and Playlist for Life (a charity which uses music to communicate with dementia patients) have been involved in the creation of the play, but the play wears this research lightly.  Without becoming bogged down in detail, this is a realistic and moving portrayal of the experience of living with, and loving someone with, dementia.
theatre-review-in-other-words-play-fringe-stage-acting-actor-actress-oscar-worthy-acting-dementiaBut as with all the best plays, there is a moment of hope at the end, as the music (which has been a recurring motif throughout the play) provides an opportunity for Arthur to remember the past, and in the intimate setting of the Hope Theatre, it was clear that more than one audience member was in tears.  By focusing on the experiences and emotions of one couple, this thoughtful and powerful piece of theatre encourages empathy and raises awareness of a serious issue which is all too often ignored.

writer : MATTHEW SEAGER / director : PAUL BROTHERSTON

Post Show Q&As
There will be post show Q&A sessions on Tues 14 and Weds 15 of March. Present will be the playwright, actors and company members, as well as Andy Lowndes the deputy chair and training lead at Playlist for Life and Grace Liggins, who is The Alzheimer’s Society Side by Side coordinator for Islington.
Box Office opens at 7.00pm for cash sales and collection of pre-booked tickets. The performance lasts 75 minutes without interval. No re-admittance once the performance has commenced.
LATECOMERS MAY NOT BE ADMITTED. PLEASE ARRIVE IN GOOD TIME FOR THE START TIME OF 7.45PM.
Over 18s only. Due to pub licensing laws no one under the age of 18 is permitted into the building after 7pm

28 Feb – 18 Mar 2017

7.45pm

£15/£12

Tues to Sat. No shows Sun & Mon

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Reviewed by Elvan faik