Strange Theatre have become renowned for creating professional theatre steeped in social realism and which is accessible to all. Their previous productions have covered the dangers of fireworks and ways to reshape the care provided to elderly people, as well as many more timely issues. Used as a piece to engage children or as a training tool for professionals, their productions are often darkly heart-warming, funny and surreal. Their latest show Couldn’t Care Less beautifully captures the pain Alzheimer’s inflects not only on the sufferer but those around them too.
As Elspeth’s (Hilde McKenna) slowly loses the grip of her own life, her daughter Lilly (Liz Strange) steps in to help care for her, unearthing the grief and frustration of caring for a mother who isn’t there anymore. Inspired by experiences of carers and devised and developed by the company and Plutot La Vie, Couldn’t Care Less subtly grabs its audience and highlights the pain and sheer determination of carers, cleverly exploring the barriers they are up against and the hardships they face every day.
Strange is captivating as the outgoing Lilly who slowly loses her own life to Alzheimer’s as she gives up everything to look after her mother. She appears tiny as she is engulfed by her mother’s memories which are locked away in suitcases only to be thrown open around her as she struggles to keep the rhythm of her mother life. As Elspeth’s health declines both women slowly withdraw from society and each other, proving that this shift in authority can at times be heart-breaking. Couldn’t Care Less is a production which not only can make you laugh and cry at the same time but also makes you question why people are left to face these situations alone, something which makes this piece utterly captivating yet wholly tragic.