Review: And before I forget I love you, I love you ****

THEATRE

And before I forget I love you, I love you. Four stars.

Pleasance Courtyard (Venue 33) 14.00

August 1st to 26th

This very moving and involving show is performed as well as written by Pip Utton, who is very well known on the circuit as the big daddy of one man shows, having done Hitler, Francis Bacon, Chaplin and Dickens.

Here he does not play anyone famous, but talks to us as those gathered at his wife’s funeral. His wife has died of Alzheimer’s, and it has been a slow process. We go with the character after the service, with his whisky and into his reflections. This may sound grim, but the skill of Pip Utton in presenting an individualized character who is easily identifiable with and has his share of quirks keep this from being just lowering.

We then find that this character is also developing symptoms similar to his wife. We also hear from son John. The journey through the character’s progressive illness is captivating as well as being fearful – none of us knows whether we shall take that path.

Pip Utton plays very skillfully with the fourth wall, bringing us all into his confidence as friends at the beginning, but replacing that wall by posture and movement, then down the wall comes again, in quite a dangerous way, but successfully. This show could be seen for its empathy and depth of feeling but also as a demonstration of what of what top class acting can achieve.

This is not a show to go to for some of the usual kinds of enjoyment, but it is definitely a very worthwhile experience.

Tony Challis