BWW Review: STILL ALICE, King's Theatre, Edinburgh

BWW Review: STILL ALICE, King's Theatre, Edinburgh

BWW Review: STILL ALICE, King's Theatre, Edinburgh

Alice Howland is a professor at Harvard who has travelled the world to deliver lectures on linguistics. At the age of 50, Alice is diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer's and this play based on Lisa Genova's best-selling novel shows snapshots of her life as she begins to lose her independence.

The play starts off with Alice forgetting small things such as turning off the oven and people patronisingly tell her it's probably the menopause. After going out for a run and being unable to remember how to get home, she books an appointment with a neurologist. The scenes are spaced over a two year period to show how the disease develops and the impact that it has on Alice's life.

One of the most effective tools used onstage is having Eva Pope play the role of 'herself'. She acts as Alice's mind and can convey how she is thinking and feeling when Alice can't vocalise it.

Still Alice isn't just Alice's story. The play highlights what her family go through as her mind deteriorates- denial, frustration, anger and sadness. Martin Marquez gives a particularly heart breaking performance as Alice's husband John as he struggles to accept that his wife is disappearing in front of his eyes.

Sharon Small's portrayal of Alice Howland is absolutely devastating. We see her go from a highly intelligent and independent woman to childlike as she has to rely on those around her to remember where she is going and what she is doing. Alice breaks down on multiple occasions while she still has an awareness of what is happening to her and is it traumatic to watch.

Although informative in places, Still Alice is very much a personal account of Alzheimer's. Much like the book and film the play is based on, it doesn't shy away from how distressing the disease is. This play definitely isn't easy viewing but it is so worth your time.

Still Alice is at the King's Theatre, Edinburgh until Saturday 29th September and at the Theatre Royal, Glasgow from the 13-17th November.

Photo credit: Geraint Lewis

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From This Author Natalie O'Donoghue

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