Reviewed by Helen Warwick
An international cast demonstrate impeccable acting and musical talent throughout this moving journey exploring the fragility of life, and what occurs as our memory starts to fade.
The play follows Tom (played by the Guillaume Pigè) who at 55 is living with early onset dementia. The story begins in the present as we see his daughter (played by Louise Wilcox) help get him ready for his party. Clever use of mime, acting and a stunning instrumental ensemble transform us back with Tom, to poignant memories throughout his life. Simple, yet masterful prop and staging techniques create the background for settings including his classroom, home, and wedding day. Exceptional acting allows the portrayal of beautiful childhood memories (with friend Mike, played by Matthew Austin, and his Mum played by Eygló Balafonte) and those happiest moments we hope to hold onto. Back in the present day, we witness the confusion as Tom lives between a present world and his disappearing past. An emotive atmosphere is created as we see Tom grapple to hold onto these merging and fading memories.
The London based Theatre Re are known for their thought-provoking plays and this is certainly no exception. I will certainly await any future plays with keen interest.
The performance was in the smaller Quay Theatre inside the main Lowry theatre and gallery building, which provides an intimate theatre experience. Several snack bars and a bar and restaurant also provide plenty of refreshment opportunities. All staff were friendly and helpful, and there were no complaints about the cleanliness of the theatre or surrounding areas. A succinct performance of 75 minutes means no interval is required, although plenty of reminders were given on entry that there would be no readmission during the performance. Quick access the M60 makes the Lowry theatre, situated in Salford Quays easily accessible, although allow extra time if in rush hour traffic! Arriving at the Lowry theatre is assisted by clear signs to a large car park within the Lowry outlet mall, handy if you arrive early. Once you have escaped the car park (signs not immediately clear on which level to exit) access to the theatre is easy along the roadside or through the outlet mall. Several restaurants and cafes are also located within easy walking distance of the theatre.
A poignant and thought-provoking example of contemporary theatre at its best. Highly recommended.
Tickets cost £16 (booking fees may apply).
The Nature of Forgetting is at The Lowry in Manchester from 12-13 June 2018, for more information or to book tickets visit www.thelowry.com or call the box office on 0843 208 6000.
The Lowry, Pier 8, Salford Quays, Manchester, M50 3AZ | 0843 208 6000