ShortBookandScribes #BookReview – One Last Waltz by Luke Adamson

One Last Waltz by Luke Adamson is published in paperback by Renard Press.

Alice is becoming more and more forgetful. Her daughter Mandy is always on hand to help out, but is starting to feel the strain. One day a long-forgotten photograph stirs a memory and lures Alice back to the Crown Hotel in Blackpool, where she hopes for the chance to dance in the tower ballroom one last time. But when mother and daughter reach Blackpool, nothing is quite how Alice remembers, and she finds herself getting lost in the past. One Last Waltz is a beautifully written portrayal of a family coming to terms with complications caused by Alzheimer’s disease. By turns sparkling with wit and heart-wrenching in its honesty, it’s filled with vital and compassionate insight into the sufferings accompanying a disease that has blighted the landscape for so many.

I caught sight of One Last Waltz on an email from the publishers and was immediately taken with the cover and title. I looked it up and discovered that it was a play and did waver at that point, but I decided to give it a go and I’ve found it to be a really lovely read.

It’s very short so what might be 60-90 minutes on stage is in effect a short story on the page. There are three characters: Mandy, her mum Alice, and a hotel owner named Georgette. Alice is getting more forgetful and Mandy decides to take her away to relive a past holiday in Blackpool where Alice waltzed with her husband at the Tower Ballroom.

Despite being a play, it’s really easy to read as a story. I’ve been to many theatre productions over the years and could absolutely imagine this one on the stage (A Passionate Woman by Kay Mellor springs to mind as having a similar feel to it). I’d love to watch it if it ever comes to a theatre near me. It’s a really evocative tale of memories, some still clinging on and some starting to be lost, and mother-daughter relationships, and it’s nostalgic, moving and humorous.

Luke is an actor, writer, director, co-founder of JLA Productions and Artistic Director of The Bridge House Theatre. He made his professional stage debut aged nine, his television debut at sixteen, and began writing and directing while at drama school. His work has been nominated for multiple awards, including the OffWestEnd awards, London Pub Theatre awards and Great British Pantomime awards. He lives in South London and is proud Daddy to Dusty the rescue dog.

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