Review: Sundowning, Tristan Bates

I’m never quite sure why I put myself through dementia plays, they upset me like nothing else and yet I go again and again. The latest is Nessah Muthy’s Sundowning, currently showing at the Tristan Bates Theatre and based as it is, in part at least, on Muthy’s own family history, it is achingly done.

Whilst Alyssa has been locked away in prison, her grandmother Betty has faced a different kind of institutionalisation. Suffering from dementia, Betty’s daughter and Alyssa’s aunt Teresa has relocated to a care home to alleviate the strain but once Alyssa is released and discovers this, she sets about organising a jailbreak for her nan. Continue reading “Review: Sundowning, Tristan Bates”

Review: The Scar Test, Soho Theatre

“I just – I can’t believe this is England”

Hannah Khalil’s intelligent exploration of the Israeli-Palestine conflict Scenes from 68* Years was one of my top-ranked plays of last year and so I was delighted to be able to see her new play The Scar Test, albeit in the oppressive, claustrophobic heat of the Soho Upstairs at the height of summer. And with that knowledge of at least some of Khalil’s theatrical style, it was a pleasure to be able to sink into her idiosyncratic storytelling and be so thoroughly challenged by its subject matter.

Here, Khalil has turned her focus to the experience of female detainees at the notorious Yarl’s Wood detention centre and the many, many indignities suffered by those trying to work their way through the knots and prejudices of our immigration system. And as with that previous play, multiple verbatim strands are splintered into non-linear episodes, some coalescing into something approaching an overall arc, some disappearing into the ether, forgotten victims neglected by us all. Continue reading “Review: The Scar Test, Soho Theatre”