Reviewer: Ian D. Hall

Location: The Unity Theatre, Liverpool.

Life is so much more than what the gossips, those that peddle the rumour mill around you and the idle talk of the garden fence brigade; however when your life starts to go down a certain path, when the fullness of your own memories start to dissipate into thin air, when the edges of the snapshot start to fade and lose definition, are you no more than the sum of the declining anecdote relied with glee by your neighbours?

In Haylo Theatre’s Over The Garden Fence, the life of a woman, which had been full of life, memories and passed down reminiscences, starts to crumble, not through outside forces but through the unravelling of thought, of forgetting and the after affects of what it does to a person’s spirit.

The issue of dementia is a tricky one in which to fully bring together on stage and Haylo’s Hayley Riley and Louise Evans must be congratulated for bringing the subject to the fore in a positive and encouraging way. The difficulty with showing with dignity the person going through the trying and frustrating crippling disease is one that is framed perfectly by adding the insidiousness of the curtain twitching brigade who are happy to sum up a person’s life in a moment’s lost thought. The many years that they may have known them reduced to the furtive raised eyebrow when something out of character happens.

Playing a myriad of female characters, the duo took the life of one woman and reconnected the confusion, the despair felt by the daughter and granddaughter as they slowly witnessed the decay, not of the body in which is more readily accepted, but of the mind. The death of the most important body part and one in which cannot be replaced.

In parts heartbreaking, in others joyfully engaging, Haylo Theatre showed the synaptic misfires, the breaking down of the soul in Over The Garden Fence with great endeavour and truth.

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