The Smallest Story Ever Told: Theatre Review

Alzheimers is a terrifying disease; I’m sure many of us have seen family members or friends fade under its grip. I certainly have. So on approaching ‘The Smallest Story Ever Told’, I was prepared to be brought down from the high I’d been on all week. However, the play successfully manages to cover the heavy topic matter, whilst finding moments of lightness in the story; not quite in hope, but in the continuing of life.

It starts in a graveyard and moves in to a doctors office, we know there has been a death - we soon learn that Amy (Katharine Moraz) has passed away, leaving her husband Charlie (Alastair Kirton) and son Matt (Jamie Scott-Smith), as well as her sister, Sally (Kathryn Shenton). We are flung head first in their grief and loss, but emerge but at around ten minutes in when Sally performs (with adept comic timing) a gag involving some rubber gloves; the audience ease in to laughter, knowing that yes, this may be sad, but there will be some lighter moments in which we can breathe.

The story follows a reverse linear narrative, so we know the outcome from the start - there’s nothing to keep us guessing, however I found myself invested in delving deeper in to Amy’s story: where it all started and what happened when. By the end, any questions I had of her had been answered. There are no major twists or turns in the plot, but there’s something fulfilling that in working backwards we return to Amy’s normality.

I felt at first that Amy had perhaps been cast a little young - especially when roles for older actresses are few and far between, but the casting could be forgiven as we moved back in time and the character neared Moraz’s own age. I particularly enjoyed the exploration of Amy’s endearing relationship with her son, Matt. She’s a feisty, lovable character, and it’s satisfying to see the warmth they share, particularly in the scene when he apprehensively plays her a song he’s written for her- which is beautiful and it's always lovely to have some live music on stage.

For me, the real blow comes in Sally’s final speech to Matt, as they begin to adjust to a life without Amy. Time doesn’t heal anything, she tells him - its raw, honest and heartbreaking all at once, and I must admit I had to make a dash for the ladies to fix my eyeliner as soon as the show was over, having there on wept my way to the end. It carried a message not necessarily of hope, but of life going on, as it will - as it does. It’s a feeling I think we can all relate to; it certainly struck a truth within me.

It is a small story. It’s tiny. One of the plethora of stories that happen every day in the world, to you, to me, to our friends or relatives - we all recognise this story in some shape or form. It’s a story that should be told - I’m glad this group of people came together to make it so.

Visit their Facebook page for details:

© Amie Taylor 2015 (@spoonsparkle)

Written by by R J Wilkinson
Directed by David Loumgair
At King’s Head Theatre, Saturday 21st and Sunday 22nd November 2015

Author's review: