There are surely times, especially these
days, when "care assistants" and even nursing staff wonder where they are - we
kind of know that care of our elderly is in a bit of a mess, and vaguely wonder
what awaits us if we eventually break a bone, become increasingly frail or
begin to forget not merely what we came into the kitchen for, but whether we're
in the right house or street.
Pressed for time, overburdened with the
difficult, dying or downright devious, underpaid and all too frequently
downright exploited, it's little wonder "the caring professions" have become an
object of scorn among those too well paid, too smart or too alert ever to grow
old. Eleanor Bennet arrives cheerfully
with an incongruous shopping trolley and with a few handy props propels us through
the daily lives of those we pay (pretty badly) to do our caring for us.
Bennet's characterisations, especially of a young recruit commenting shrewdly
on the inanity of SVQ methodology, are delightfully shrewd observations of life
in geriatric wards and homes. Bennet's sense of comedy and timing are very
good, though at times one wonders if it couldn't be darker, although the
cheerfulness which keeps breaking in is certainly needed. Old age is an
oncoming reality most of us manage to ignore till our bus passes and pension
book loom before us. Which is part of Bennet's point - that old people are
still people; their fragility, rigidity or forgetfulness simply aspects of the
person they continue to be. The diffident agonising of the caring relative
will, in its time reveal itself in another way as she herself grows old.
Although lightly drawn, Bennet's main point is an important one, which she gets
across as neatly and skilfully as one imagines she does in life.
Times: Aug 4-25, 16.15 (no show Aug 11 or 18)
Copyright Bill Dunlop August 2008
Published on EdinburghGuide.com August 2008