Review: Durham Drama Festival: Werthers and Wrinkles


Particularly apt for an audience of students, this accomplished piece by Sophie Mcquillan and Alex Prescot cleverly meets its geriatric protagonists through the relationships with their grandchildren. The room was set well with an abundance of NHS posters, a constant reminder of dementia, diabetes, and all the spectres of illness in old age.

The subtleties in the dialogue and direction, balancing humour and pathos, created characters far more complex than the (rather obvious) grouchy and slightly racist pensioners complaining about sugar in their tea.

This smart script was completely brought to life by superlative performances from Carrie Gaunt and Charlie Keable, who double as Bex, Ed, his nan and her pops respectively. Gaunt’s performance dominated and she excelled in some very convincing crying but what was most striking, and what I think was perhaps the greatest accomplishment of an already impressive piece, was the strong, generous and honest dynamic the two performers shared.

The transformations that both actors undertook from the young to the old, deftly directed by Kate Barton as a repetitive ritual costume change in between scenes was executed very well and became a pleasure to watch in itself. Indeed, the whole piece was complimented by subtle and mature direction and, although I was not convinced by the stylistic tangent of the dance, by the end of it I was surrounded by a room of crying faces, which is perhaps all that needs to be said.

DDF 19

Image: Kate Barton


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