ThEATRE AN EvENING WITh DEMENTIA tHeSPaceS on tHe mile @ tHe raDiSSon (Venue 39) HHHHH
“DO I need tissues, am I going to cry?” an audience member tentatively asks as we are shown into a room, within which an old man sits on a raised stage, quietly shaking.
But despite the weighty subject matter, Trevor T Smith’s one-man show about “a brave spirit fiercely living out the collapse of his mind” is both insightful and undercut with a surprisingly upbeat sense of humour.
his nameless character (“never use a name, even if you think you know it” he advises) is at times all too aware of what is happening to him. Indeed, he is brilliantly astute when observing patronising relatives and the tendency for the “blue coats” in the home where he lives to administer pills at the drop of a hat.
Like Trevor, our fictional host has an impressive background in theatre and it is fascinating how seamlessly this brilliant actor merges with his character. Indeed, the show plays around with what is real and what isn’t in a way that cleverly draws us in. Ultimately, the well-paced script succeeds in highlighting the unseen humanity of a dementia sufferer, but it’s difficult not to be left feeling powerless by the end, since there is little we can currently do to protect ourselves or others from such a soul-destroying illness.