The exciting finale was followed by applause Maggie May, a neat, 2-act play by Francis the Poet, beautifully played, funny, sunny and uplifting, although it also deals with a time of dark despair and extreme sadness. All of this shows how laughter, song, love and acceptance lead a significant way in turning difficult situations and sufferings into times of joy and hope.

Rod Stewart Maggie May was a big hit the day Maggie first met her husband Gordon in 1971. Now in his sixties, Gordon is recovering from a stroke, and Maggie struggles like a frantically floating swan to look perfectly collected, desperately trying to hide from her son and her best friend the fact that she has episodes of memory loss due to Alzheimer’s disease. . Embarrassed and embarrassed, she is embarrassed by the thought of how they will react. We soon learn that through the interaction of the five characters, Maggie’s story and relationship unfold and evolve.

Aitne Brown is quite attractive and sweet in the role of Maggie, a down-to-earth woman from Leeds, full of humor and song, who suddenly faced problems with a diagnosis of dementia. Along with it, we travel from clear, logical times to brain fogs, desperate strategies of struggle and cover-up, denial, frustration and despair, but gradually we move forward from tears of suffering. As soon as Maggie and those who love her face the challenges of reality and accept them, they begin to focus on the positive and revel in the joy of the moment, thinking about what else can be achieved, not what cannot.

Son Michael (Mark Holgate), thanks to the lovely Claire (Shiren Farhoy), his friendlier, more understanding girlfriend, eventually works through his misunderstandings, denials, intolerances, impatiences and annoyances to soften to accept his mom’s situation and get ready play a role in helping. Maggie Joe’s best friend (Maxine Finch) must learn to forget the stigmatizing stereotypes of dementia and do the same. Gordon’s husband (Tony Timberlake) is a warm, loving, very nice man, always ready to sing, dance and laugh with the love of a lifetime as they face trials and tribulations together. The music regularly emphasizes the scenes, changing Maggie’s gloomy despair in times of joy and lightness, while elevating the mood of the audience with doses of happy sun. Splashes of songs, jokes and humor pepper the whole show.

The headset is surprisingly simple and pleasant with clear geometric lines formed by the angular metal frames of beds and tables, as well as attractive green front doors, all of which are easily movable. A metal frame across the stage, tied with hundreds of reminder notes, hangs on the slope above the process, playing a huge role in the story and creating some fabulously touching visual magic, especially at the end. The lighting is also simple but very effective, and the solid frieze frames the whole scene, displaying rows of terraced houses, houses of ordinary people similar to the story. In fact, everything was thought out for a dementia-friendly audience, and periodically in the script Maggie included her brain and memory, reminding herself – and us – of the situation at the moment. Her clear, generalizing words also appear on two screens where they remain throughout the scene.

Perhaps unexpectedly, the metaphors about Harry Potter are large. A huge, hovering, dark ghost is Maggie, the dementor, comes to suck out her soul, pick up her memories and leave behind an empty shell. But Maggie is chasing him! She defeats him by choosing instead to pick up Gordon’s idea of ​​creating a Pensieve where she can store her cherished memories. Superinnovative Gordon gives Maggie a screwdriver to use as a wand to pull out of her mind golden memories and then place them in a devastated toolbox. Here they will be stored and used forever, and the toolbox glows with a magical light.

So instead of going about losing, declining and becoming a burden, it’s definitely a sunny positive play, a happy pastime that offers hope and comfort and emphasizes the message that even if people forget their brains and even fail, sometimes , get to know loved ones, in their hearts and beings they still feel love.

When friends and family gather to help, Maggie realizes that she is neither helpless nor useless, and sees that despite tears and suffering, she will keep going, keep laughing, keep singing and dancing and joining, and continue to enjoy the good things that each has. the moment can bring. Good philosophy.

Eileen Keiger Gray

Maggie Mae is a Leeds Playhouse, Curve and Queen’s Theater, co-produced by Hornchurch and running at Leeds Playhouse until May 21 and then at The Queen’s Theater from May 24 to 28. All performances are conducive to dementia.


MAGGIE MAY – LEEDS PLAYHOUSE, COURTYARD THEATRE – MAY 14th 2022

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