Transferring fresh from its acclaimed run at the Edinburgh Fringe, Paradise Lodge is the musical comedy based on writer Steve Cooper’s experience of caring for his mother-in-law as she lived with dementia. This show is a relatable and compassionate piece that creates an immediate connection with anyone who has had experience with dementia.
Eric and Kylie, a dysfunctional ukulele musical duo called The Doodlebugs, embark on their first gig together at the Paradise Lodge Care Home. 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.
During their time in Edinburgh, Paradise Lodge raised over £1,000 for Alzheimer Scotland and although the Doodlebugs may be a fictional duo, they came to life when they performed in local nursing homes.
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).
The sheer reality of it is relatable…. a delightful and poignant production (★★★★ London Theatre 1).