One Hundred Trillion at the Old Vic Workrooms
Finding a new home at the Old Vic Workrooms after a successful debut at the Southwark Playhouse, The Dot Collective’s production One Hundred Trillion is a collection of short plays (Frames, I could Have Danced All Night, Topsoil and London Bus) designed to raise awareness of dementia and challenge the way it is presented.
The works were the outcome of extensive community outreach with four south London support groups (The Daffodil Café, the Primrose Café, the Healthy Living Club and Link Age Southwark) and are inspired by the joy, sorrow and spirit that thrive within these communities. As such, it makes for an incredibly poignant theatrical experience as audience members become immersed into the lives of those who have shared their stories.
The performance begins as soon as you approach the Old Vic Workrooms, through live music in the bar and the exploration of a “memory room” prior to the show. Throughout the production the performers interact with the audience, bringing them into their lives in doing so. The spectators are guided throughout the venue by the charismatic Arthur Woolgar Verral (Stuart Turner), who ensures every play blends seamlessly into the next – each accompanied by a stunningly elaborate set ranging from an old fashioned living room to a London bus and even a multi-sensory allotment complete with real horticulture. The stellar staging is accompanied by beautiful sound design combining live music with sound effects, reminding us of the ways in which music and memory interlink.
Each story is unique, though they share a message of hope in the face of struggle. Robert Hickson gives a standout performance in I Could Have Danced All Night and Topsoil with his emotional portrayal of Les and John respectively, through which he is coupled nicely with quietly charismatic Maggie Daniels. Despite this, the strength of the production lies in the abilities of the entire ensemble, who come together to produce a performance that is both joyous and meaningful.
Photo: Courtesy of The Dot Collective
One Hundred Trillion is at the Old Vic Workrooms from 7th until 11th May 2019. For further information or to book visit the theatre’s website here.