Finding Joy

Vamos Theatre

Assembly Hall

From 04 August 2016 to 14 August 2016

Rating: ****

Review by Liam Blain

Actions have been known to speak louder than words and Vamos Theatre certainly proves it in its latest Edinburgh Fringe production.

With not a word uttered, Finding Joy at Assembly’s Rainy Hall uses full masks and beautiful music to transport the audience into the home of Danny, his mum and his dementia suffering Granny.

As his life is slowly spiralling downhill towards unemployment and drugs, Danny finds himself at a loose end but realises that helping his forgetful grandmother to pick up the pieces of her life brings him more purpose, love and affection than he could ever have imagined.

The comic timing of the piece is perfect with some laugh-out-loud moments peppering the poignant and often emotional story that the characters are telling. The direction by Rachael Savage is simple but effective in ensuring the storyline remains intact throughout. The curtained box used as the production’s backdrop is subtle yet practical in many ways and the lack of clunky set is a bold choice that certainly pays off.

Possibly the most touching moments were those of the granny looking back at her life, allowing the audience an insight into her story. She is much more than a victim of dementia but a woman who has lived a happy and fulfilled life. As each montage ends and we are brought back to the present day, you can’t help but feel helpless for this poor lady who’s mind is failing her.

There is a dignified manner that surrounds this entire piece. What could have been a hard-hitting and emotional response to an evil and devastating disease has been turned into a joyful and resonant piece of theatre that will leave you as speechless as the actors.