An Instinct for Kindness, Pleasance Dome
Thursday 25 August 2011
Last year Chris Larner helped his ex-wife, Allyson, to die. She had been living with multiple sclerosis for over 20 years and “needed help with everything, apart from thinking.” Having decided she could take it no more, she asked her ex-husband to help her one last time and accompany her to the Dignitas clinic in Switzerland, where she ended her life on 4 November 2010.
Larner, a writer and actor who has appeared at the National Theatre and the RSC, tells Allyson’s story in an intensely moving, at times overwhelming, one-man show. Flitting between past and present, Larner builds up a vivid picture of the doughty, blackly comic Allyson, whom he met when they were both members of the same touring theatre company in the Eighties. It’s not so much a tribute to her, though, as a play about the messy business of dying, both the ethical and emotional ins-and-outs of assisted dying and the hair-wrenching bureaucracy and practicalities – what to wear? What about that book you’re halfway through? Larner relates it all with a clear-eyed, occasionally funny, occasionally horrifying lack of sentimentality, right up to the moment Allyson is given a Swiss chocolate to take away the bitter taste of her final drink.
To 29 August (0131 556 6550)
Children's bookseller wins The Independent's new author search
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Marijuana use by teenagers does not result in a lower IQ or worse exam results, study finds
- 2 Watch what happened when food critics were unknowingly served McDonald's
- 3 Jimmy Carr's controversial Oscar Pistorius joke goes too far at the Q Awards
- 4 Australian café owner sparks debate after saying 'No' to having unruly children on premises
- 5 NHS staff banned from drinking tea or coffee on the job because it looks like they're not working hard enough
MOBO Awards 2014: Jess Glynne hits back at 'ridiculous' criticism of nominated white artists
American Horror Story season 4, Fox - review: Silly, sensational and sensitive
The Apprentice 2014: Nurun Ahmed and Lindsay Booth fired in double elimination
MOBO Awards 2014: Sam Smith sweeps the board with four gongs
The Apprentice, episode 3 - review: Lord Sugar hacks away at the deadwood with double elimination
Of course, teenage girls need role models – but not like beauty vlogger Zoella
Cameron is warned 'no possibility' of UK reducing immigration and that bid to bring in quota on migrant workers would be illegal
Support for EU membership 'at highest level since 1991' with most Brits wanting to stay 'in'
Thousands with degenerative conditions classified as 'fit to work in future' – despite no possibility of improvement
Residents should throw a street party and mix with immigrant neighbours, councils told
Russell Brand threatened with arrest after filming outside Fox News headquarters