The first time we notice something is awry in Alice’s life is when she walks into her basement with her top on inside out and from then on, slowly her life starts to unravel as her daughter Mandy tries to keep it together. Alzheimer’s is something we hear about a lot and this play is adding to a growing number of art forms which want to raise awareness of the issue. The story is very much rooted in real life experiences and as a result the dialogue feels very natural and very real.
When Alice (Amanda Reed) discovers her old dancing shoes and some old photo albums in her basement, her daughter Mandy (Julie Binysh) suggests they take a trip up to Blackpool for one last waltz in the Blackpool Tower Ballroom. Here they meet Georgette (Julia Faulkner), the lonely hotel concierge whose own mother suffered from Alzheimer’s. As Alice’s memory fails her, the holiday becomes more and more stressful for Mandy, and Georgette comes to the rescue. At its heart, this story is one of love more than heartbreak, more about happy endings and coping rather than stress and unhappiness, but there are a few key poignant moments when the audience cannot fail to realise the devastating nature of the disease – in particular when Georgette reveals a moment where she thought ending her mother’s life was the best way forward, and when Mandy has to break the news to her mother that George, Alice’s late husband, died two months ago.
All three actors played their parts to perfection, but in particular I found Julie Binysh’s performance outstanding as the frustrated, loving and ultimately scared Mandy. The use of music was also excellent, as scenes changed old songs played, all of which were in 3/4 time (the time a waltz is danced to) highlighting the importance of dancing in Alice’s life.
Overall, I enjoyed One Last Waltz, it wasn’t very dramatic, nor was it anything especially different or new, but it was a heart-warming story which raises awareness of a difficult issue, and does it well. An informative play with a heart-warming conclusion
Review by Emily Diver
Alice is becoming more and more forgetful. Her daughter Mandy is always on hand to help out but the strain is becoming too much. A long-forgotten photograph stirs a memory and lures Alice back to the Crown Hotel in Blackpool. Hoping for a chance to dance in the tower ballroom one last time mother and daughter set out, but Blackpool isn’t how Alice remembers and things become too much for her as she finds herself getting lost in the past.
Alzheimer’s is the most common cause of dementia, affecting around 496,000 people in the UK and is predicted to affect 1 in 85 people globally by 2050.
Based on real-life events and experiences, this funny and touching new play explores the difficulties in coming to terms with the disease.
Presented by: Black Coffee Theatre
by: Luke Adamson
ONE LAST WALTZ
9 MAR – 17 MAR 2018