Friday, 12 December 2014

'Visitors' Bush Theatre ****

Suffering from a form of a mental health condition at any age is particularly upsetting to go through, and when the condition is the early stages of dementia, it can be disconcerting for the family, as well as those closest to them. Shepherds’ Bush’s, Bush Theatre’s current production of Barney Norris’, ‘Visitors’ was a play that explores this incredibly strong, moreover, the characterisations are extremely powerful. ‘Visitors’ is set within the farmhouse of elderly couple, the slightly quirky Edie, and her slightly apprehensive husband, Arthur. From the outset, it appears that Edie is quite forgetful as her conversations never remain consistent fundamentally, to help Arthur look after her, he hires recently graduated law student, Kate as he’s rather busy managing not only the farm, but the house itself. Kate is a pleasant and reliable carer to Edie, and is given the impression that her work is appreciated colossally by her employers. Furthermore, she seems that she does not know what she wants to do for a stable career path, so she does anything to obtain some financially firmness. During the play it is increasingly disappointing to see Edie’s recollect of memories to drastically weaken as she is forced to sit on plastic bags as a way of protection towards the material of the armchair that Edie is sitting on just in case she urinates herself. We are familiarised with Edie and Arthur’s only son, Stephen and the present situation of his mothers’ poor health is especially distressing for him to see, but he exclaims that his marriage is on the rocks, and as a mean to unleash some tension, he demeans Arthur’s decision to hire Kate to care for his mother. Gradually, Arthur understands that the home that he and Edie have lived in for an incredibly long time has to be sold so that Edie can move into a residence for the elderly, and when Stephen and Arthur pack up their possessions in the boxes, it’s an enormously tear jerker of a instance. Norris’ narrative is an undeniably beautiful story of how the deterioration of a woman’s’ psychological state, additionally, the hurt this causes the husband and the son. The pace is very fluid and particularly enjoyable too. One found the performances by the company of ‘Visitors ‘to be effortlessly portrayed and the attention to detail was flawless throughout. Linda Bassett is outstanding as dementia sufferer, Edie; predominately when she repeatedly darts through too many conversations within the one conversation. Robin Soans is fabulous as Edie’s husband, Arthur; essentially where he tries to help Edie into a clearer mind-set, in addition to this, the scenes with his son, Stephen suggests that their relationship is not as positive as you may expect. Eleanor Wyld is decent as Edie’s carer, Kate; principally the aspect where she states to Edie the reasoning behind her plan to eject herself from the practice of law, as well as, her alluring carefulness towards Edie was charming to witness. Alice Hamilton’s direction is transcendent here as there is an excellent combination of emotional and hilarious moments entwined with one another, and the work in capturing how old age can instil a sense of uneasiness within a difficult period of time. Francesca Reidy’s design is positively enthralling as the decision to base the design around the Bush’s exposed brickwork to encapsulate the farmhouse was phenomenally stimulating to observe, also the textures within the other elements were grand too. Overall, the experience of ‘Visitors’ was one that is thrilling and charismatic entirely. Work a visit to the Bush Theatre in this festive period.

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