The Guardian 13 May 2022

Frances Poet has form when it comes to dramatising illness. Her play Fibres (2019) was about a shipyard worker and his wife living with asbestosis. The cast of ailing characters in Still (2021) included a woman with chronic pain. Maggie May, delayed from 2020 because of the pandemic, is about dementia.

The writer plays a trick on us when it looks certain her focus will be on Tony Timberlake’s Gordon. He is the one snoring – well, snorting – in the bed after a blockage has caused a stroke. We assume he is in a bad way. Turns out he is fine. Timberlake plays him as genial and loving. He is as patient and forgiving as he is quick to burst into song.

The subject is in fact our narrator, Maggie, who is resisting the news that her recent forgetfulness has not been caused by depression but by Alzheimer’s. [Read more]

By Mark Fisher

MARK FISHER is a freelance theatre critic and feature writer based in Edinburgh and has written about theatre in Scotland since the late-1980s. He is a theatre critic for The Guardian, a former editor of The List magazine and a frequent contributor to the Scotsman and other publications. He is the co-editor of the play anthology Made in Scotland (1995), and the author of The Edinburgh Fringe Survival Guide (2012) and How to Write About Theatre (2015) – all Bloomsbury Methuen Drama. He is also the editor of The XTC Bumper Book of Fun for Boys and Girls and What Do You Call That Noise? An XTC Discovery Book (both Mark Fisher Ltd).