A gentle comedy about waiting to die
This article is from 2016.
In a dingy care home somewhere off the A1, a 97-year-old woman narrates her last day. She performs her last actions, some of them real, some taking place in her mind, sometimes interacting with the daytime television personalities that soundtrack her life. But as her day progresses, the characters in the home become embroiled in a fantastic plot that takes off from mundane beginnings to reach surreal heights.
Inspector Sands' darkly comic production sees three actors switching comfortably between playing staff and patients, creating the well-rounded feel of an ensemble piece. Introducing the main character with a broken hip and unsure of her whereabouts might not immediately seem to set the scene for comedy, but the play nimbly toes the line between tragedy and humour with sensitivity and warmth.
The action is never fast-paced, but subtle and timed to perfection – a resentful glance here, a mumbled repetition there, if anything reminding the audience fondly of elderly relatives and their idiosyncrasies.
There are moments of poignancy – to be expected considering the subject matter – and these simply highlight the message of the play, which is to examine with compassion and warmth how loved ones spend their final days.
Summerhall, until 27 Aug (not 15), 3.25pm, £15 (£12).