In Other Words at the Hope Theatre
Fresh from a residency at the Lyric Hammersmith, theatre company Off the Middle has unveiled Matthew Seager’s debut play, In Other Words, at The Hope Theatre in Islington. A moving tale focused on the relationship of one couple, the production explores the gruelling effects of Alzheimer’s and the role that music plays in helping people to remember the past.
Beautifully written by lead actor Matthew Seager, the piece tells the story of Jane and Arthur, a doting and carefree couple whose lives are turned upside down when Arthur is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. Seager was inspired to write In Other Words having facilitated sensory stimulation workshops in a dementia care home whilst still at university. Central to the play is the effect that music often has on sufferers. As Arthur’s disease rapidly progresses, the sound of his and his wife’s song (Sinatra’s Fly Me to the Moon) helps him to remain connected to reality. Seager expertly portrays Arthur’s vulnerability, fear, anger and despair as he loses more and more of his memories.
Equally captivating is Celeste Dodwell, who portrays Jane. Dodwell brings to life the heartbreaking struggle of a loving wife who ends up caring for a husband who no longer recognises her. It is Jane’s emotional journey and Dodwell’s performance that will ultimately have audiences in tears.
With limited props and space, the two actors successfully immerse viewers in the twists and turns of Arthur and Jane’s story with raw emotion, humour and a charmingly crafted script. Intermittent scenes reveal the couple speaking directly to the audience, as if in conversation. This, and Jane’s private conversations with Arthur’s doctor, provide deeper and honest insights into what it is like to deal with dementia over a long period of time.
Ultimately, In Other Words is a beautiful, emotionally charged love story of a couple facing devastating adversity. With heart-wrenching performances from emerging talent in such an intimate setting, all viewers will walk away with an altered view of Alzheimer’s. It is a show certainly worth watching.
Photos: Alex Fine
In Other Words is at the Hope Theatre from 28th February until 18th March 2017, for further information or to book visit here.