Blog On The Tyne (Trent Nene and Welland)
So – Unforgettable duly up sticks from its temporary residential home at the Guildhall Theatre, Derby, and took to the road. Good to the lyrics of ‘My Old Man Said Follow The Band’, the wife and I didn’t dilly dally and pursued the “Dementia Roadshow” (audience member’s words – not mine) in our aged campervan.
St. Christopher’s Church Hall in downtown Sneinton was a gospel revelation. The predominantly female ‘full house’ which had congregated were vociferous in their appreciation of the play’s issues. Particularly audible appreciation was voiced for Rosie’s disclosure that her ex-husband of 29 years was still her best friend. Three couples gathered for their Interval refreshments and debated whether they too would remain friends in the event of separating. Mid-debate another audience member (who was also eaves-dropping) intervened and declared “This play could be about me and my ex – we’ve got on so well since splitting up we’re in danger of re-marrying”.
Onwards from Sneinton and Arnold to County Hall at Matlock – HQ for Derbyshire’s social worker brigade. The cast coped superbly with a tight performing space and equally lean off stage area. The silver lining to this intimate scenario was the close and intense presence of the production. It has become increasingly apparent upon this tour that a true ‘fraternity’ has developed both on and off stage in this play – and this was displayed no better than at Matlock.
I was approached post performance by Gay Bolton who is Arts reviewer for The Derbyshire Times. With a hint of a tear still in her eye and the need to blow her nose periodically she was glowing in her praise for all four actors. I wish Theresa had been within earshot – because praise was also heaped upon her direction and “seamless” time changes that – for this reviewer – had made the piece particularly “poignant and uncomfortably self-analytical”.
Onto Northants and Lincs – for two contrastingly sized audiences – but two customarily accomplished performances. For my wife and I (apologies for sounding a bit regal) the latter performance at Spalding was pretty much 10/10 all round for cast and crew alike. Another week on tour and then a finale performance in my home town of Crich which has long since sold out (100) and has a waiting list that has now reached double figures I am informed. A fitting testament to all on board this “Dementia Roadshow”.
Other overheard audience quotes of the past week -:
“Rosie and Jed are going to haunt me for a horribly long time”.
“I wanted to offer Jed my sit-on mower… he looked just like I used to feel”.
“Moaning’s the only bit I enjoy about caring”… “Sounded just like you when I had my stroke”.
“As one arthritic baboon to another – do you want an interval drink”?
Don’t ‘dilly dally’ – get out there and see it.