Writer: Linda McLean
Director: Maria Oller
Composer: Philip Pinsky
Designer: Karen Tennant
Reviewer: Amy Taylor
Bob’s lost something. He’s lost his thingummy, you know, the thingummy, no, not that. It’s the simple but highly effective premise of loss that dominates Lung Ha’s latest creation, Thingummy Bob, as we follow the eponymous Bob on an adventure, that takes him from his care home to his old house as he attempts to find his thingummy, never mind, you’ll know it when you see it.
Directed by Maria Oller and performed by a five strong cast, Linda McLean’s latest play for Lung Ha gives the audience an all-too brief glimpse into the mind of Bob (John Edgar) who has Alzheimer’s and lives in a care home. But Bob is forever looking for the aforementioned thingummy, the whatsitsname and his daily life centres around his attempts to locate what he needs, which just so happens to be somewhere outside the care home that he lives in.
Guided by Gemma (Emma McCaffrey), Bob’s attempts to find whatever it is he is looking for take the form of a series of spirited escapes are narrated by Karen Sutherland, who plays both Bob’s niece in Australia and Binox, the super-intelligent CCTV system that records his every move in the home.
Presented in association with the Luminate Festival, Scotland’s creative ageing festival, Oller’s production is a succinct and moving exploration of Alzheimer’s that, while sad in places, manages to bring a lot of humour to a misunderstood subject.
In fact, it’s this humour, the energy that each actor brings to the stage, and the drive and determination of Bob that really makes Thingummy Bob feel so uplifting and makes an otherwise upsetting subject suddenly seem like it’s not so tragic after all.
Oller’s production is a sheer delight that handles very serious subjects like ageing, loss, illness and memory with sensitivity and humour, and it’s the laughter, coupled with the sight of Edgar’s Bob giving the run around to a much younger and more able-bodied cast on Karen Tennant’s set that stay with you long after the curtains have closed. An joyful piece of theatre and a must-see.
Reviewed on 29 October 2015