Enlightening play on dementia raises a laugh

One man show offers a humourous, sad and poignant insight into a sufferers world

Having seen the effects of dementia I was well aware that the focus of concern is on the carer not the sufferer.

Sleepless nights, accusations, no sane conversation and even violence can be the daily diet of the nearest and dearest.

Dementia affects a million people in the UK and that number is expected to increase as we live longer.

Trevor T Smith’s one man play turns that perspective on its head and offers you an insight into the victim’s frightening and frustrating world.

But while provoking sad and reflective thought An Evening with Dementia will also have you chuckling out loud as Smith reveals the trials and tribulations of dealing with the condition.

Smith, who also stars, has acted with the Royal Shakespeare Company and in countless productions across the country and it shows.

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As you enter the auditorium the talented actor has you wondering if he actually suffers from the disease sitting in his chair looking into space hand shaking uncontrollably.

He plays an older actor living in a home away from his surroundings and his memory fading.

And it is the consequences of his fading memory that are the running theme of the hour-long show which at the same time are funny, poignant and sad.

‘Never use a person’s name it can get you into trouble’ he says after a woman kisses him on the cheek, ‘It could be a daughter, but I can’t remember if I have one’.

Smith goes on to take you through the evaporating relationship with everything he once cherished to even himself.

An Evening with Dementia deals head-on with taboo of mental illness and the descent into dementia so feared by the individual and society as a whole.

Unsurprisingly the show was a big hit at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival last year and the audience at the New End Theatre, in Hampstead, felt the same.

* The show runs until March 6 at the New End Theatre, in New End Road, Hampstead. Tickets �12/�14 from the box-office on 0870 033 2733