Friday, October 23, 2015

'Descent' by Linda Duncan McLaughlin

23 October 2015

On Thursday I was at the Traverse Theatre in Edinburgh for 'A Play, A Pie and A Pint', the Traverse's series of lunchtime performances of new plays. As each £12 ticket includes food and drink, the majority of the audience arrive early to eat before the show, creating a great atmosphere in the theatre bar. This week's production was 'Descent' by Linda Duncan McLaughlin, presented in association with Luminate, Scotland's Creative Ageing Festival, which explored the reality of dealing with dementia. Like the 2014 film, 'Still Alice', 'Descent' dealt with the onset of dementia curtailing a successful professional career (in this case as an architect). The heartbreaking experience of a wife trying to care for her ever-more-difficult husband felt very real in the close confines of the Traverse 2 studio theatre. One of the effects of really good drama is to make you forget you are watching a play, and I caught myself gasping out loud a couple of times at the more traumatic moments. Wonderfully acted by Barrie Hunter, Wendy Seager and Fiona MacNeil, it was a harrowing experience which really made you think about the process of ageing – one of the key objectives of the Luminate Festival.

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