Based on the issue of Alzheimer’s and writer and director Luke Adamson’s personal experience with his grandfather’s battle with the disease, One Last Waltz disappointingly missed the mark.
Although some of the speech was funny and natural at times, the story felt very basic and incredibly obvious. Amanda Reed’s portrayal of Alice, the mother of Mandy who has just lost her husband and beginning to become very forgetful, was natural and incredibly endearing. There was a believable relationship between mother and daughter, with Mandy getting frustrated with her mother’s increasingly forgetfulness.
The narrative however, seemed entirely engineered. Alice just so happens to find a box with photos of herself and her late husband dancing in Blackpool. So then, of course, Mandy and Alice decide to take a trip there and have “One Last Waltz”, as could be predicted.
Not only is the story unexciting, the cliché hotel receptionist Georgette (Julia Faulkner) was a complete caricature, which grates against the naturalistic performances of Reed and Binysh. There are also a few awkward monologue moments which just didn’t fit. Alice gets lost, then found, then Georgette- the pair’s new best friend, creates a pretend ballroom in order for them to have their dance. During their dance Alice has the revelation that she should go to the doctor and mother and daughter embrace…
The set is basic, with the use of lots of cardboard boxes to create not only the home and but also the hotel, but there are points where the fairy lights used to create a ballroom were more exciting to look at than the action taking place on stage.
This is particularly disappointing because the issue at hand is so important – there was certainly potential. The writing was just not interesting or exciting enough- leading the audience step by step rather than letting them experience anything organically or make decisions themselves.