Unforgettable, Guildhall Theatre, Derby

unforgettable tim elgoodHow do you dramatise a subject like dementia? Writer Tim Elgood chose to pack his play with both side-splitting humour and candour so blunt it made you gulp.

It’s possible you might get to the end of Unforgettable without weeping but I doubt it.

This is a play with a powerful narrative that explores guilt, fear, loss, resentment and the deep rooted bond between siblings and their parents.

Elgood has dedicated the play to the memory of his mother-in-law whose fight against Alzheimer’s inspired him to write the piece.

Last year it won the New Perspectives theatre company’s first full-length playwriting competition and it was premiered at the Guildhall Theatre in Derby last night.

It is the story of brother and sister Jed and Rosie who on the death of their father become carers for their mother, as they head into old age themselves.

The director Theresa Keogh brings the superb script to life with the help of a cast of four who play the two siblings and their younger selves from 35 years earlier.

Anji Carroll the casting director deserves much praise as the actors chosen for each part are so spot-on it is almost as if the play has been written with them in mind.

Anna Lindup is masterful as the self-centred, guilt-ridden Rosie and Lennox Greaves is equally effective as the self-effacing, insecure Jed.

Hayley Doherty and Adam Donaldson are the perfect match for each character’s younger self and both capture the warmth and sadness of the script.

The biggest challenge Elgood gave the New Perspectives team was the morphing of the characters from past to present and on to the future.

With clever use of a simple set, designed by Gem Greaves, and music to evoke memories across the years they meld the couple’s long journey seamlessly.

Unforgettable is an extraordinary play that will trigger many emotions and will do much to raise awareness of those battling tirelessly against dementia.

It can be seen at the Guildhall Theatre until Saturday May 23; at County Hall in Matlock on May 30 and The Crich Glebe Field Centre on June 14. Go to http://www.newperspectives-development.co.uk for more details.