A los­ing mind ex­hil­a­rates with such win­ning per­for­mances

The Jewish Chronicle - - LIFE - THEATRE JOHN NATHAN

Wyn­d­ham’s Theatre

IS ALZHEIMER’S the new Holo­caust? Ricky Ger­vais fa­mously told Kate Winslet, af­ter she won her Os­car for The Reader: “Didn’t I tell you? Do a Holo­caust movie and the awards will come.” Well, the same might now be said of the brain dis­ease that has fea­tured in Os­car-win­ning movies such as Iris, about Iris Mur­doch played by Judi Dench, and Still Alice, star­ring Ju­lianne Moore.

And now there is also Ken­neth Cran­ham who will also be up for big theatre gongs.

In Flo­rian Zeller’s fiendishly clever play, Cran­ham plays Alzheimer’s suf­ferer An­dré, charis­matic fa­ther to Claire Skin­ner’s Anne, who is forced to make the tran­si­tion from daugh­ter to carer.

If that all sounds de­press­ingly off­putting, please don’t let it put you off. For while this Paris-set play packs the re­quired emo­tional punch for a drama about a dis­solv­ing mind, it does so with quite ex­hil­a­rat­ing flare and hu­mour.

The key lies in the way Zeller has con­structed his piece, which is set in an apart­ment that may be An­dre’s, or Anne’s, or some­where else. The scenes — of­ten short and punchy — are of­fered up like seg­ments of a puz­zle. Giv­ing too much away here would solve it pre­ma­turely.

But the cru­cial ef­fect is that they dis­ori­en­tate the au­di­ence, al­low­ing

PHOTO: SI­MON AN­NAND

Mov­ing: Ken­neth Cran­ham and Claire Skin­ner in

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