Visitors written and directed by Barney Norris.

Visitors by Barney Norris tell the touching story of Edie (Tessa Bell-Briggs) whose onset of dementia has created life-changing decisions that are being discussed by the family around her. Fear, confusion, and flashbacks map out the new reality that dementia patients endure.

Arthur (Christopher Ravenscroft) lives and breathes the family farm. He is the third and final generation to work the land. The love shared between the couple is the heart and soul of the farm. Arthur explains that without Edie, he has no reason to stay.

When Kate (Nathalie Barclay) arrives on the farm to help care for Edie it allows the couple to remain on the farm together longer. I felt her character was underdeveloped in places and I kept waiting for her to reveal something, which never arrived.

Family dynamics rarely work out the way people expect them to. Edie and Arthur envisaged a large family with one of the children inheriting the farm and continuing the family tradition. Sadly only one son arrived and Insurance worker Stephen (Patrick Toomey) has no interest in working on the farm and rarely visits his parents.

His feelings of failure as a son, father, and husband add to the tension created between himself and his parents. The amount of unsaid heartfelt conversations means that their honest opinions are never fully divulged or discussed. Like many other families who say nothing to prevent any arguments.

Philosophy runs throughout the play. Edie often remembers flashbacks to their earlier years and memories long forgotten. One particular memory appears several times of the beautiful lady dressed in a white wedding gown on the beach, the details are fresh in Edie’s mind, and it could have happened yesterday.

The times in which She ponders on whether she has lived the life she deserved and to its fullest. I feel everyone could relate to those thoughts and questions. Have we lived our best lives? Only one person can ever honestly answer that question. Edie never fully concludes one way or the other.

For more information on this play and future productions at the Watermill Theatre please use the link below.

Four Stars.


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