Dance review: Bandbazi – Mind Walking, Brunton Theatre, Musselburgh

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IT REALLY shouldn’t work. A serious subject matter, played out on stage by earnest actors reciting painfully astute text – who then take it in turns to climb into a large hoop and ascend to the sky.

Bandbazi – Mind Walking

Brunton Theatre, Musselburgh

****

Incorporating aerial into this kind of show could easily look and feel incongruous.

Instead, BandBazi’s beautiful portrait of a mind increasingly lost to Alzheimer’s is right on the money. Playwright Tanika Gupta and director John Binnie take aspects of this cruel, destructive disease and turn them into clever theatrical devices.

Lead character Bobby (played with unending sensitivity by Peter D’Souza), looks at his young grandson Matty and sees his long lost little brother. Bobby’s daughter Rosa reminds him of his mother, and he cries in her lap confusedly (much to her horror and equal confusion). To this end, the same actors play the grandson/brother and daughter/mother – with Tarrick Benham and Philippa Vafadari rising to the challenge perfectly, while Kate Dyson, as long-suffering wife Moira, tries to hold the family together, missing the man she once knew but still loving the one she must now look after.

Nothing is shied away from – the incontinence, the frustration, the sadness and occasionally the fun, the aerial work adding poignancy and dynamism throughout. Swinging on and climbing through the hoop, Bobby remembers the India he left behind; Rosa relives her childhood when dad was still dad; Matty mourns the “gramps” who used to be “cool” and Moira remembers her young love.

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