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Review of Flash Festival: Garlick Clove Theatre Company - I Forget What I’ve Forgotten at the Looking Glass Theatre

For my first three shows I had generally been presented by fun and frivolity, my fouth was however to be a much tougher watch. It was however a most brilliant one. The best solo Flash I have seen so far, and up there at the very top with the best of them.

The rather wonderful Catherine Garlick was our solo star. Having not quite been given the chance to shine at the very top with her University shows so far, the glimmers of the potential were there in Macbeth were she was a devastatingly powerful Malcolm despite her slight frame. It was for me excellent news when I heard she was to do a solo show as this was her moment. Its safe to say she truly seized that moment as in I Forget What I've Forgotten by her theatre company Garlick Clove she gave one of the best student performances I have seen.

The first thing I will say here is that if you are to see the show, and it's without question I tell you to do so, please stop reading now. There are spoilers ahead that you must not see.

We are presented at the start of the play with four coat stands, one of which is empty. The others contain jackets/coats of relevance of what is to come. There is also what appears to be table at the centre of the set with a table cloth across it. Before Catherine arrives we are presented with an old video of a young family scene, this returns between each part with different playful moments of growing up. We can guess who is featured within these old videos, but for now minus sound, it hangs in the air unanswered.

Catherine arrives and puts on one of the items of clothing and through each of the three parts these separate visually the three characters of the play. However jacket or coat apart, these are three superbly separate characters that Catherine creates in such a short period of time. We have the very well spoken daughter, we have the playful and young child with Growler in tow and we have a nurse in a care home. These three characters all have a link, the theme of the piece Alzheimer's Disease. Through these characters we see the devastating impact that the disease ravages on families or those they care for. The well spoken daughter and her tea towel wrapping mother, the child "Ninja" and the disappearing tales from her grandfather, and the nurse treating the residents of a home including a man predating granny. There is much love in this piece as well as great sadness and at all times it is performed with such skill that you live every moment of these people.

Then we have the crunch as Catherine removes the nurses uniform and moves to the empty coat stand. The videos return to the screen, this time with audio and are suspicions are confirmed as we see that this for Catherine is not a tale of fiction, but one of personal experience. The reveal of the "table" and where the missing coat is, is truly a moment of brilliance and poignancy. However then we are treated by a scene that will remain with me for much time to come. Nowhere will you see a coat on a hat stand bring such emotion to an audience as this did. It was an incredible moment from a superb show and it will be I feel be virtually impossible to beat this week.



The Flash Festival 2015 runs between 18th-23rd May, 2015 at four venues across the town. Details can be found at http://ftfevents.wix.com/flashtheatre2015, while tickets can be booked via the Royal & Derngate. Details at: http://www.royalandderngate.co.uk/whatson/2015-2016/Other/FlashFestival15

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