Tying in with the very topical subject of living and being able to work in the UK as a non- British citizen, Jericho’s Rose explores the idea of belonging through the tales of Yasmin- a young theatre-maker- and her grandpa, who is suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.
Lilac Yosiphon plays both of these characters, as well as having written and co-directed the piece, resulting in a captivating 75 minutes of theatre. Yosiphon accents her character changes through stylised movement that is supported by Sam Elwin who plays the electric guitar and also utilises a loop pedal to create an ethereal, consuming soundscape. This is established from the get go, as when we enter The Hope Theatre, Yosiphon is walking in super slow motion around the space with a suitcase in one hand, and a passport in the other. Yasmin guides us through her life, addressing the audience directly, in a charming and humorous manner, which gets the entire audience on her side very quickly.
The parallel between the two stories becomes ever clearer as the piece progresses, both characters feeling displaced, with no sense of where ‘home’ is for them. Yasmin spends time in various different cities whilst trying to obtain a special visa to return to the UK, and her grandpa simply does not recognise his surroundings anymore. We can appreciate the struggles of living with someone who has Alzheimer’s, as through Yasmin’s eyes we experience the conversations between the two characters, which are the same every day, Yasmin becoming more and more frustrated with each exchange. Her clarity in character swapping is impressive, her grandpa sitting on a wooden chair, leaning both hands on his leg, head forward; whereas Yasmin is energetic and explores the whole performance area with her movements.
Despite the minimal set consisting of one chair, a microphone in one corner and a gauze material on the back wall, the suggestion of location is cleverly achieved through Will Monks’ lighting design, and needless to say, Elwin’s music composition matches the tone perfectly.
Althea Theatre’s Jericho’s Rose tells a story which needs to be told, as it’s one that British- born citizens may not even fully appreciate happens on a daily basis, as well as those of us who have never come across an individual living with Alzheimer’s disease. It casts a light on these issues, reminding us that “all we have is now”.
Jericho’s Rose is playing The Hope Theatre until 3 November 2018. For more information and tickets, please click here.