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When I Fall, If I Fall review at Summerhall, Edinburgh – ‘tightly crafted’

Claire Dowie in When I Fall, If I Fall at Summerhall, Edinburgh. Photo: Elisa Nocentini Claire Dowie in When I Fall, If I Fall at Summerhall, Edinburgh. Photo: Elisa Nocentini
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There are three indistinct figures projected on to a wall and as Offenbach’s Orpheus pipes up, they begin to can-can. As the lights dim, we realise that one of them is less nimble that the others.

The swirl of the skirt less frenzied and the kicks less high. On stage, Gloria is still dancing as best she can and it fills her with joy but her bones are brittle now with the onset of osteoporosis.

Claire Dowie’s monologue is a gentle, amusing testament to the resilience and frailty of old age. Gloria talks in a rambling fashion about her youth as a dancer, and how she is currently on middle ground.

Too old to dance but not old enough to be the Grande Dame. Gloria offers her opinion on make-up, sex and relationship but the shadow of old age gradually interferes.

Gloria begins to repeat herself and we listen to the same stories again, shorter this time but no less impassioned.

As the performer, Dowie invests Gloria with her warmth and energy. The technical aspects of the show including the projection and the require a little more finessing but this is a tightly crafted piece offering a very individual perspective of old age.

Who Cares review at Summerhall, Edinburgh – ‘tear-jerking throughout’

 

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Verdict
Bittersweet re-assessment of an anxious youth recalled in old age
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