REVIEW: Holding Hands is a lovingly-crafted emotional one woman story

PUBLISHED: 13:04 19 July 2018 | UPDATED: 13:04 19 July 2018

Holding Hands, The Field Theatre's one woman show, is devised by Deborah Curtis (centre) and directed by Thomas Marty and produced by Jennifer Stevens. PHOTO: Mike Rouse.

Holding Hands, The Field Theatre's one woman show, is devised by Deborah Curtis (centre) and directed by Thomas Marty and produced by Jennifer Stevens. PHOTO: Mike Rouse.

Archant

This Saturday (July 21) at 7pm the curtain rises on a compelling piece of reality theatre at Littleport Village Hall.

Mayoress of Ely, Cassie Rouse, with Deborah Curtis and Mayor of Ely, Councillor Mike Rouse.Mayoress of Ely, Cassie Rouse, with Deborah Curtis and Mayor of Ely, Councillor Mike Rouse.

The local community-based Field Theatre Group brings to life one woman’s experience of dementia in a powerful new drama called Holding Hands.

Written by Deborah Curtis, it deals with the desperate attempts of a middle-aged woman, who is stymied at every turn, to protect her father, his house and belongings, and his bank balance, from those who would connive at relieving him of all of them, as he grows increasingly disturbed and confused.

Based on her own traumatic encounter with this dreadful illness, the play explores many aspects of dementia, especially the problem of how to keep our vulnerable loved-ones safe from harm of all kinds.

The Mayor of Ely, Councillor Michael Rouse, sponsored a special showing last Saturday at Ely Museum - and for 75 minutes the invited audience were totally enthralled by the convincing acting of solo performer Deborah Curtis, supported by a splendid production team.

The audience experienced a complete range of emotions from intense sadness and anger, to some laughter, as the tale unfolded, with compassion throughout for the narrator, dementia sufferer Ed’s daughter, who at one point in despair exclaims “But I’m too old to play Cordelia!” in a reference to Shakespeare’s mad King Lear who snubs his youngest daughter…

The mayor said afterwards: “The mayoral sponsorship of Holding Hands was part of past mayor Richard Hobb’s campaign to make Ely more dementia aware.

“The Field Theatre’s one-woman show devised by Deborah Curtis and directed by Thomas Marty and produced by Jennifer Stevens is a lovingly crafted personal story and an indictment of the times we live in and shows the effects of dementia and the need for greater awareness and understanding.

“Cassie and I would like to thank the lovely audience who filled the Vernon Cross room and made it such a worthwhile event.”

It is a reminder that the mayor and mayoress are at the service of the community to support events in any way we can and bring people together in fellowship.

The complex video montage, still photos and sound design, the stage sound, film and lights by Jack Stevens, was an intrinsic part of the show, contributing much to the unfolding of the riveting plot punctuated by music, and the stage management by Miles Curtis was professional in execution.

The fascinating stage design was organised by the members of the Field Theatre Group.

The resounding and lengthy ovation at the end of the show says it all.

The show starts at 7pm.

Tickets cost £5 on the door or email thefieldtheatregroup@hotmail.co.uk

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