The Flood at the Hope
Alzheimer’s has ensnared the lives of Arthur and Grace Smith. After 50 years of marriage, Grace’s decaying memory haunts the couple’s Yorkshire household, continually dredging painful reveries from the past and plunging Arthur into his previous life as World War II prisoner of war. As torrential rain falls, isolating the pair amid ever-rising flood water, Arthur’s efforts to care for his wife become increasingly futile as Grace descends deeper into her own mental seclusion.
Part of the Hope Theatre’s HopeFull Festival, which celebrates new voices by calling on emerging writing talent, DHW Mildon’s The Flood is a tragic and harrowing piece examining the vast lengths to which we will go for those we love. A stark, minimalist set directs attention upon the impressive cast, while the intimate traverse stage plants us directly in the midst of the action, escalating each graduation of despair.
Director Simon Evans has created a seamless, enthralling production that submerges us straight in the icy depths of the couple’s anguish. Ian Chaplain is brilliant as Arthur, the kindly war veteran who, haunted by his past, struggles to care for his wife and her fraying mental state. Garnon Davies injects some welcome comedy as Hugh, Arthur’s joke-telling, rebellious fellow soldier, while Lucinda Curtis delivers an astounding performance as Grace, oscillating flawlessly between her conflicting moods of elation, confusion, anger and grief. Each time Grace finally pinpoints the realities of her life, the effect is utter devastation; Curtis excels at her craft delivering a performance both phenomenally affecting and staggeringly realistic.
Refreshingly, Mildon focuses on Arthur and his struggle not only caring for his wife but forced to repeatedly open old wounds. Looking back at Arthur rather than Grace’s memories is an original twist, drawing parallels between Alzheimer’s and the soldier’s typhoid, cementing Alzheimer’s as the typhoid of our time. Tender, stirring and poignant, The Flood is an innovative portrayal of a troubling illness.
The Flood is on at the Hope Theatre from 1st August until 30th August 2014, for further information or to book visit here.