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Review: Hand Over Fist

    Joanna Bending
    Joanna Bending

    Dave Florez's poignant monologue about lost love and Alzheimer's is given a transfixing performance by Joanna Bending in this mind-blowing new play, pacily directed by five-time Fringe First winner Hannah Eidinow.

    Bending, as the addled Emily, flits from one thought or florid fantasy to another across a semi-remembered realm spanning seven decades (or 627 years, in her increasingly confused state) as she recounts her love for Josh, her husband of 60 years.

    Her raging stream of consciousness, at one point conducted to the ironically grandiose strains of Beethoven's Symphony No 7, and at another involving her taking on the persona of a baby, reaches back to Germany in 1936, and to the snow-like human ash from concentration camp ovens.

    The immense pathos mingles with wildly dark, scattergun humour in Bending's sinewy portrayal, which is sensitively lit up and enshadowed by Matt Britten.

    Florez, a Royal Court young writer since 2000, won a Fringe First last year for "Somewhere Beneath It All, A Small Fire Burns Still", and this play, which shines a light on the parting of the light, is no less worthy of recognition.

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