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Stuart King

Review: ONE LAST WALTZ, Greenwich Theatre

One Last Waltz Written and directed by Luke Adamson, ONE LAST WALTZ is one of those well-meaning fringe shows which attempts to tackle a serious subject - in this instance, Alzheimers - the disease from which Adamson's own grandfather suffered before his death last Christmas.

Presented from the perspective of a daughter who has begun to notice her mother's memory lapses, the story is a relatively simple and gentle tale which involves a return visit to Blackpool triggered by the discovery of a long-forgotten photo album which conjures happy holiday memories from the late 1950s.

Since her father has already passed away, Mandy offers to act as proxy and take her mother to the Tower Ballroom where she can twirl Alice around the dance floor for one last waltz. Of course time hasn't stood still and both Blackpool and the Crown Hotel where Alice originally stayed, have undergone considerable change, to the point that confusion and upset soon begin to cause their plans to unravel.

The performers charged with bringing the play's three female characters (mother, daughter and the Crown's quirkily skittish manageress) to life, rarely threaten to present anything other than pastiche portrayals. Meanwhile, Adamson's dialogue struggles to rise above hackneyed platitudes and chirpy northern colloquialisms. For all that, the simple cardboard set and attempt to recreate Blackpool's illuminations offers playgoers a chance to see what can be achieved in a small space, on a slim budget, where a specific subject matter is clearly dear to the hearts of all those involved.

Although this stoney-hearted critic was relatively unmoved, some audience members visibly brushed away tears as the lights came up.