Back to Blackbrick
Touching time-travelling dementia drama
This article is from 2015.
Dementia, ageing and care seem to be emerging as big themes among this year’s Fringe theatre offerings. And Patch of Blue’s touching Back to Blackbrick, based on the novel by Sarah Moore Fitzgerald, puts a magical spin on the issues, weaving together a boy sorrowfully charting his grandfather’s inexorable mental decline with a time-travelling love story.
It requires a pretty big suspension of disbelief at points, but by the end it’s a truly poignant reflection on memory, family and fate, brought vividly alive in a big, warm hug of a show. It has the same crisp, incisive direction (here from Alex Howarth) that Patch of Blue have showed in a string of previous Fringe successes, and a fine, multi-part-playing cast: Alex Brain is impressively wide-eyed as the well-meaning central character Cosmo, and Grahame Edwards gratifyingly understated as his increasingly confused grandfather.
Live music from an ever-active duo is subtle and supportive, and there’s an inventive takeaway item for after the show has finished. A word about sightlines, though: the Pleasance Cellar seems ideal for stand-up comedy, less so for a piece of theatre much of whose action takes place on the floor. Unless you’re sitting in the first couple of rows, a lot will simply go unseen.
Pleasance Courtyard, 556 6550, until 31 Aug (not 17), 3.30pm, £7.50–£10 (£6.50–£9).