Coinciding with their London run, Paradise Lodge’s dysfunctional ukulele musical duo ‘TheDoodlebugs’ will come to life this October as they perform in local nursing homes – Chiswick Nursing Home (14th October), Hammersmith Dementia Day Centre (16th October) and Acton Care Home (21st October).
During their acclaimed run at the Edinburgh Fringe the duo raised over £1,000 for Alzheimer Scotland; this charitable partnership was particularly fitting as the production is a musical comedy based on writer Steve Cooper’s experience of caring for his mother-in-law as she lived with dementia.
Residents at homes such as these wouldn’t normally get access to the vast array of shows on the London theatre landscape and it’s important to Cooper that he’s able to connect with local communities, particularly given the subject matter of Paradise Lodge. Singing in care homes is his way of giving something back.
This show is a relatable and compassionate piece that creates an immediate connection with anyone who has had experience with dementia. Told in a series of touching flashbacks and some comic songs from the wartime era, Paradise Lodge transports Vi, Ronnie and the audience back to a time when they had all their lives in front of them – to when they thought they would live forever.
Trying to make sense of dementia and its impact on those affected, Paradise Lodge explores the nature of identity, reality and loss, with a bit of Beyoncé’s Single Ladies thrown in for good measure. A hilarious, heart-wrenching production, it will have audiences laughing, crying and singing their hearts out.
Steve comments, “The reactions from audiences young and old has been really touching. People who were apprehensive that the show might be a difficult watch have said they took heart from learning that they weren’t alone. Health professionals have said it could be used to train carers. People with Alzheimer’s, dementia and their families have watched it together and each seems to find something that speaks to them. When people come back the next night and bring others with them it shows that they feel ownership of the play. For me, that’s the highest praise. Whether people have personal experience of the condition or not, they all end up singing!”
“Paradise Lodge is a compassionate, unflinching look at old age, while in the context of a musical comedy. Informed by real experience, it takes us to places we’d rather not go, and reminds us that they still contain kindness and humanity” (★★★★ The Scotsman).