Ivory Wings, Assembly Rooms (Venue 20) * * * *
As time progresses, they begin to elude her more and more; her daughter, her grandchildren, the fate of her beloved husband… all pass her by in the slow creep of Alzheimer’s disease.
That is, until the gentle sound of a piano fills the air, and she is rejuvenated. Springing to her feet, a charge of youthful energy shoots through her and she’s back in the throes of the Second World War once more – one of Britain’s most experienced Spitfire pilots.
The contrast between Virginia’s playful courtship of husband Leo and their tender embrace upon his broken return from a Japanese prison camp is heartbreaking.
In her touching, sensitive impression of the elder Virginia, she also manages something which few pieces about dementia share: a sense of hope, that one snatched memory triggered by a piece of music might reaffirm a life anew. When she leaves the stage, her tears appear as real as those of the audience.
Until 24 August.