Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh Three stars In a cluttered room, a young woman called Lilly takes stock of her and her mother Elspeth's lives in this new collaboration between the young Strange Theatre company and the slightly more seasoned Plutot La Vie troupe. Where Elspeth's life was once perfectly choreographed, first as a dancer, then running a dance school, as she gets older and her mental faculties fade, she becomes ever more dependent on Lilly to look after her. High-flying career girl Lilly's own life collapses into chaos as she is forced to care for her mother full-time before Elspeth's inevitable demise. As Tory Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt of all people suggests that care for the elderly in the UK is a '”national shame”, Alzheimer's-based plays are at a premium. This latest effort, scripted by Morna Pearson with the company and currently touring as part of the Luminate festival of creative ageing possesses a certain quirky charm in its telling. Malcolm Shields' choreography adds much to Tim Licata's production, as does the pulse of Daniel Krass' jaunty score that drives the performances of Liz Strange as Lilly and Hilde McKenna as Elspeth. The hour-long play works best when it gives way to Pearson's recognisably troubling fantastical edge in a couple of scenes that resemble a video nasty take on Mommy Dearest made flesh. While even more wildness of this ilk would be welcome from the get go, the play leans more towards the more everyday struggles of carers. It is carers like Lilly who bear the full emotional brunt of an increasingly significant issue in a play that captures the extent of how lives can be turned upside down by it.
The Herald, October 21st 2013 ends