Hightide: Clockwork

Clockwork, by Laura Poliakoff, High Tide Festival, Halesworth, May 13.

OLD friends Carl and Mikey must say their farewells as the latter makes plans to leave the care home in which they both find themselves, constrained by their wheelchairs and the increasingly misty memories of their past lives.

The year is 2064 but, with the voices of The Archers still heard on the radio, life in a care home seems much as it is sometimes portrayed today – an under-staffed world in which the real needs of patients are either ignored or stifled.

Etienne, a young offender doing community service, is interested only in the recreational drugs left over from Carl’s decadent younger days while Trollface, the care assistant, may have a heart of gold but she has a schedule to meet.

Sex – or at least lack of it - seems to dominate the thoughts of the crude, frustrated, foul-mouthed Carl while Mikey, a man of mischief as well as romance, seems to have reached a plain of contentment.

There is a suggestion that Mikey has elected to end his own life in a clinic. In fact his brain tumour is a lie and he is off to spend his remaining days in the sun.

Poliakoff’s often humorous and well acted play touches upon the issue of how we care for our elderly, but fails to do so in any real depth. This production was beautifully directed by Steven Atkinson and well lit by Matt Prentice. Despite good characterisation, it feels over-written and needs some smart editing.

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David Green

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