Friday, 26 March 2010


This was a perfect play for the typical National Theatre audience which leans toward the geriatric(including me, of course). Tamsin Oglesby's play tries to tackle the social problems of aging. What does a country do when 1/3 of the population is over 65? Who takes care of the increasing medical expenses? How do family caregivers deal with the burdens of loved ones with debilitating mental or physical ocnditions? Good questions, but Oglesby has jammed together two plays. One is a bittersweet comedy about two aging sisters, one with Alzheimer's, the other with a failing body, being cared for by the daughter of one of them. The other play is a kind of comic science fiction fantasy in which a pharmaceutical corporation has found the answer to the growing elderly population -- give them a pill which briefly makes them feel better, but will shorten their lives. We have a ruthless scientist who finds out that at fifty he has premature Alzheimers and may be a victim of his own system and a clinic that is quickly emptied of patients, thanks to the wonder drug. This second narrative thread never successfully connects with the other, so the play is an amiable mess. Good acting, though, particularly from Judy Parfitt as the woman with Alzheimers. Playing such characters seems to be required of aging actresses these days. I found the program essays more interesting than the play, however.
REALLY OLD, LIKE 45 by Tamsin Oglesby, directed by Anna Mackmin,designed by Lez Brotherson. National Theare Cottesloe Theatre. March 16, 2010.

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