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The Lion's Face, Theatre Royal Brighton, Until May 21
Dementia is a subject often talked about in scientific terms.
But among the media stories about the rising number of cases and the advancement of possible treatments, the first-person accounts are often lost.
The Lion’s Face provided an insight into both the isolating world of a dementia sufferer and the outside world of his family and caregivers.
A clever technique used by Elena Langer (music) and Glyn Maxwell (words) was to give the sufferer Mr D (Dave Hall) only spoken lines, while everyone around him sang, which reinforced the distance between them.
This operatic exploration of dementia was often harrowing, expressing the sadness and frustrations felt by both the sufferer and his wife, as she struggled to love a man who no longer knows her.
At times the music and singing was jarred and difficult to listen to, which reflected the tense atmosphere on the stage.
But there were also instances of compassion and happiness, such as a tender moment between the caregiver’s daughter, only at the home because of a school snow day, and Mr D.
There were outstanding performances from all members of the cast and this was a brave and forward-thinking production.
A post-show discussion revealed divided responses but it succeeded in getting people talking about those at the heart of this disease.
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