The play, performed from June 16-18, was written by Keith Outterside and reflected his love of music from the 1960s and his personal experiences of his father suffering from vascular dementia. The play followed the life of a couple through three stages of their lives – from their initial meeting in 1967 through to being residents in a care home where both suffer from dementia.
The main characters were movingly portrayed by John Priddle and Hilary Brown as the elderly and irritable ‘JJ’ and May, and by Tom Gray and Charlotte Heath as the young lovers.
A further seven cast members enacted other scenes from the life of JJ and May, in particular the death of their daughter from a drug overdose.
The cast of 11 were praised for their acting and for their sensitive portrayal of Outterside’s characters and some audience members even left in tears.
Karen Murrell, chairman of Dementia Friendly, Alton, attended the opening night and said: “This [Imagine Me and You] was amazing. We were so absorbed by the story – heartfelt, true, realistic, educational and honest. Truly amazing!”
Others praised the way play dealt with its central theme – Alzheimer’s and dementia. Many left the play with a much clearer insight into dementia and the impact it has on those who struggle with it.
Mr Outterside himself was overwhelmed by the positive feedback his play received. He said: “I started off developing the play based on my love of the music from 1967 and seeing my dad and my family struggle with his vascular dementia.
“I’m proud that I have been able to raise awareness of this debilitating illness.”
Pictured right, JJ and May as portrayed by Tom Gray and Charlotte Heath (above) and John Priddle and Hilary Brown (below).