BOTHERED & BEWILDERED by GAIL YOUNG is a trip along the rocky road of Alzheimer’s disease. This condition, which awaits increasing numbers of us as time passes, is a complex mix of symptoms that have a uniquely devastating effect on the people caring for sufferers. Young’s script tackles a difficult issue with warmth, humour and a little of the shock that prompts relatives to accept how different the patient has become and move to the next necessary stage of care. She commendably avoids sensationalising the awful moments many of her audience members will have experienced as they struggled to comprehend what was happening to a relative in their own lives. Having seen this condition in several family members and close friends, I know I sat up with a jolt at one or two points.
VAL LENNIE shines in the lead role of Irene with a strong and occasionally courageous performance displaying the bewildering mood swings and the crippling paranoia so characteristic of the condition. Director Mike Brownsell could not have asked for more. Also rising to the challenges of the script, Lynn Cameron and Anne Mackenzie playing the ‘daughters’ were unswervingly watchable.
The play offers an alter ego for Irene in the form of Barbara Cartland. Beautifully dressed and coiffed to replicate the standard photo of that Grande Dame of romantic fiction, Bev Wright gave a sterling performance. I would have liked a touch more steel in this personification of Irene’s unreason. The principals were well supported and it’s an altogether satisfactory evening of drama from Edinburgh People’s Theatre.
Run continues Thursday and Friday 26/27 at 7.30 pm and Saturday 28th at 2.30 pm Churchhill theatre, Morningside Road (Buses 5, 11, 16, 15, 23, 27 to Holy corner. Some parking in surrounding streets)