Pros: Gorgeous music and a range of beautiful images.
Cons: Too long for comfort.
The cruelty of early onset dementia touches many lives, so unsurprisingly the theatre was packed for this piece which shows at midday at the Pleasance Courtyard. Theatre Re worked with UCL Neuroscientist Kate Jeffery as well as people living with dementia in order to develop this work, and it began promisingly.
Tom is getting ready to celebrate his 55th birthday. He struggles to remember the instructions his daughter has given him for getting dressed and they become fragmented. The words repeat and return, taking on different meanings. Unfortunately, this idea wasn’t developed, and what followed was a conventional – albeit charming – physical theatre piece. We follow Tom back to his school days. His impressions and memories are brought to life by the vivacious cast.
The simple freedom of youth was captured beautifully in a bike riding sequence and the music was lovely – yearning melodies played beautifully on violin by Alex Judd. We see Tom at school, trying to kiss the girl, maturing to become a teacher himself, then getting married. A motif of checking and re-checking recurs throughout, as do regular pauses where the action stops abruptly, and Tom stands almost motionless. These pauses were far too long and dragged the pace frustratingly. The physical work, while beautiful, didn’t convey clear relationships between the actors, and it was difficult to understand the action at times.
Guillaume Pigé (also the director) plays Tom, and has a handsome fragility which helps carry the piece. The music, which was on sale after the performance, is gorgeous; full of propulsive rhythms and lyrical melodies. However, beyond forty-five minutes, even the returning musical motifs became irritating. You’d have to be a real cynic to dislike this piece though, and Pigé’s talent shines brightly for the ending, which is truly moving.
Conceived and Directed By: Guillaume Pigé
Devised By: Theatre Re
Music: Alex Judd, Chris Jones, Keiran Pearson
Dramaturg: A.C. Smith
Booking Until: 27 August 2017
Box Office: 0131 226 0000
Booking Link: https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/nature-of-forgetting