- ridiculous, pointless, or nonsensical:
The play was anything but that, instead it was real, poignant and needed! The issue of dementia is one still taboo and not understood but Louise Coulthard’s play really shows us the heart and truth of the disease instead of the medical statistic.
Based on true stories Cockamamy takes us through the life of Alice as she slowly develops dementia and both her and those around her struggle to come to terms with the truth. Now I watch a lot of Fringe, and have seen plays which throw the issue in your face and force you to be upset and feel. The beauty of this piece is the dialogue’s , perfectly judged, boringly tragic nature thus allowing us to really delve into their world and made the moments of confusion and fear much more heart-breaking and relatable.
Louise as the doting granddaughter Rosie played her part bravely from the everyday 25 year old to showing us the final harrowing effects that dealing with dementia can do; it was both horrifying but affirming to watch. Scott Clee’s Cavan was perfectly pitched as the young doctor, his ability to skip between the young man, desperate for affection from Rosie to the doting young gentleman was effortless, but the real star of the piece is Mary Rutherford. Her portrayal of Alice is Oscar worthy, the slow progression from your everyday gran enjoying a production of Romeo & Juliet to a confused and angry old lady, struggling to come to terms with the demise of her life and independence is a master class in acting. Not once was it too much, not once did I for a second think she wasn’t actually going through the disease herself, it’s one of those moments where you just wanted to get up and give her a cuddle and a cup of tea.
The piece isn’t a piece of Fringe theatre, it’s a professional production in a fringe environment, the music choices and their use in the piece reminded me of a psychological thriller and really set up the confusion and unnerving aspect of the piece from the off so we never, like Alice, really felt safe and the little bit of physical theatre was both mesmerising and engaging. Saying that I would have loved to have seen more of it, especially to help cover the sometimes empty scene changes, but if I’m honest you are so wrapped up in the piece they really take nothing away.
The piece reminded me of a modern day Glass Menagerie and was a pleasure to watch. It didn’t try to hard but somehow managed to portray a disease that has touched almost all of us in a sincere, heart-warming and compassionate way. A lot of love and care has gone into the piece and it shows something that is so important when dealing with such a sensitive issue. The piece runs until the 20th at the Lion & Unicorn and you need to see it! Louise Coulthard should be very proud of the piece and I look forward to seeing what she does next.