Reviewer: Jamie Gaskin
Location: The Unity Theatre, Liverpool.
Memory is a funny thing – it’s also sad, terrifying, exciting and wonderful. All of these and more are explored in this tight, well-crafted, simply staged offering by Haylo Theatre.
The start seems a little slow but the audience is soon enchanted by the everyday life of Dolly (Louise Evans) and her grand-daughter Annabelle (Hayley Riley). The women use real-life experiences to weave the tapestry in this painful yet witty look, not only at dementia, but the wider joys and setbacks of the often flawed memories we keep locked away.
This is not just a two-hander: Evans and Riley employ a wide-range of hats and bits to portray the neighbours all too willing to slag off Dolly’s weird antics. Much of the humour comes from these over-the-top characters, and much of the sadness from Dolly’s junk-box with bits from the past. They set her off down the very misty Memory Lane of her youth where our emotions are compelled to follow.
We want to hug Dolly when a birthday card triggers the dreadful day she loses her dad, and fully understand why her husband’s old coat whisks her away from her struggles with the life she is now ill-equipped to fathom. As Evans skillfully swings Dolly’s personality from determination to despair Riley’s Annabelle watches with a wide-eyed innocence almost afraid to show how desperate she is to try to make things right.