Howard Assembly Rooms, Leeds/Touring
THERE is a beautiful symmetry to Monday’s Child by the Tutti Frutti theatre company.
A meditation on memories, it explores how they are formed and lost through a young girl discovering her own world and that of her grandmother, whose consciousness is changing due to the disorientation of dementia.
The pair’s cross-generational worlds contract as, unencumbered by a past or future, they enjoy life’s simple pleasures of dressing up, singing rhymes and exploring each others’ “treasure” boxes.
The girl (Josie Cerise, pictured) stores feathers and conch shells in hers, each item admired via a series of dance movements directed by Joanne Moven.
In contrast the old woman (Erika Poole) produces a memory-laden clock without hands, a pair of giant pants that the girl eagerly models on her head and alphabet blocks that invite audience participation.
The underlying physical symmetry develops as the girl innocently copies and exaggerates her companion’s look of concentration when she tries to remember what she’s doing and it’s revealed again in their dual excitement when boiled sweets are found in the old woman’s pocket.
With their identities becoming fused into one person’s past and present, the girl is totally accepting of her grandmother’s behaviour and is neither scared nor questions her lapses in memory or random associations, as when she’s catapulted back to the war.
It’s a relationship that will be familiar to many as it evokes memories provoking both tears and laughter. It certainly has emotional resonance for people of all ages.
The play has been been created by writer Brendan Murray in collaboration with psychology lecturers and representatives of the Alzheimer’s Society and this level of recognition ensures that Tutti Frutti, having already established itself as one of the country’s leading children’s theatre companies, has truly excelled with this piece.
Tours until June 15, details: www.tutti-frutti.org.uk.
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