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        Denise Stephenson

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Review Pentimento August 2014.

Gilded Balloon Teviot Jul 30 to Aug 24 

Author: Denise Stephenson Director: Clemence Viel
Producer: Panic Theatre. Cast : Denise Stephenson Running time: 1hr 



The mourning process is different for everyone. For Denise Stephenson, the passing of her mother spurned her on to write this wonderful solo show about the Second World War generation, getting old and getting dementia. 

The show begins with Stephenson setting up the stage. She seems excited and apprehensive as she lays out a white blanket and slippers... Suddenly, Stephenson transforms into her mother so completely that everyone will recognise an elderly person they know in the way she holds herself, her arthritic fingers and the unintentional casual racism. 

Roisin, born in Tipperary in 1923, was clearly a wonderful woman, full of joy and laughter, but over the next 50 minutes we see her deteriorate as dementia and fragility set in and she becomes aggressive, defensive and scared. 

Stephenson’s performance, directed by Clemence Viel, is so compelling you will struggle to hold back the tears as you get to know her mother and then bits of her are taken away. The writing, too, cleverly shows both love and frustration – at a disease we don’t know how to prevent and an overstretched NHS that isn’t sure how to treat it. 

Pentimento is an intensely moving show that will encourage you to hold your parents and grandparents close. 

By: Lauren Paxman 

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