Bothered & Bewildered

'Bothered & Bewildered' is a comedy drama about one woman's struggle with Alzheimer's. The play follows Irene and her two daughters Louise and Beth as the girls lose their mum in spirit but not in body.

As her family struggle to come to terms with her Alzheimer's, Irenes past passion for romantic literature blurs with reality. She spends hours discussing how best to write her 'memory book' with her imaginary friend and favourite author Barbara Cartland (the deceased world famous romantic novelist), disclosing long kept family secrets that she would never divulge to her daughters.

This tragi-comedy is about memory, loss, secrets and, above all, love.

Photo Gallery


Here is an informal interview with the writer Gail Young during rehearsals for 'Bothered and Bewildered'.

4* Review for Edinburgh Peoples Theatre. May 2016.

Reviewer Hugh Simpson in All Edinburgh Theatre

'Combining laughter and tears, all utterly genuine, Edinburgh People’s Theatre’s production of Bothered and Bewildered at the Church Hill is thoroughly successful.......Gail Young’s first full-length play, Cheshire Cats, has already been produced with great distinction in Edinburgh, but this is the Scottish premiere of her second, dating from 2014.

Taking on such a new and little-known work could be seen as a brave step for EPT, but it is one that deserves to succeed wholeheartedly. The subject matter may put some off, and there can be no denying that it is difficult to watch at times, particularly for the huge and growing numbers of people who have personal experience of the issue.

However, there can be no doubt that it is a judicious and rewarding piece of work – serious without ever becoming melodramatic and humorous without being flippant.

The storyline also encompasses other mother-daughter relationships, secrets, storytelling, love and other vast swathes of human experience, but in a wholly manageable form. There are no easy answers, and it is all powered by a steely, human resilience that makes what can only be personal experience accessible to all. Anyone who has been in this situation will recognise much of it, but this comes from the piece’s universality rather than any glib observation.......Overall this is a triumphant effort.....'

NODA review for Crompton Stage Society, Playhouse 2, Shaw. 2016.

'A simple set with good use of props this play tackled the emotional problems of Altzeimers and the pebble in the pond effect on a family struggling to deal with the issues when a family member has this. Humorous in places the play tackles the emotional and heartfelt emotions with a sensitivity and reality which most audience members could resonate with.

The direction worked really well with the simple staging and the acting was very believable..........The Barbara Cartland character was a source of much of the humour and was played so well with over the top costumes and outdated language....diction, projection and acting were beautifully portrayed in this role......

Beth was very well played ....the sister who has less patience and a husband (who we never see) who is even less tolerant.....the softer daughter Louise takes her mother into her own home when she can no longer look after herself. ......the delivery of the part felt very real and portrayed the days of dealing with a parent with Altzheimers .....with many funny moments but many thought provoking problems to deal with.

Molwyn Ashley was utterly brilliant as Irene who talks to Barbara Cartland and is being consumed by the disease. Her attention to detail and characterisation of this part was totally true and mesmerising. Her confusion and anxiety were not just narrated by her but delivered with great sensitivity......

My guest and I shed tears for the portrayals as both of us (and I suspect most of the audience) have experienced parents or grandparents who have or are being affected by this cruel disease. Well done to all involved in this touching play which I had not seen before and which gave us plenty to discuss after the performance.'

Review for Coromandel Players, North Island, New Zealand. June 2016.

'I was lucky enough to attend the final performance of the Coromandel Players’ wonderful play ‘Bothered and Bewildered’. The delightful little theatre was jam-packed and, once I’d gotten over the envy I felt at Coromandel having such a gorgeous performance venue, I settled in to my seat a little uncertain of what I was about to watch.

The opening scene, in the consulting room, made me uncomfortable until I realise it was meant to. The acting was that good that the discomfort experienced by the daughters discussing their mother’s worsening dementia was well conveyed to the audience. The unease continued as the nature of Mum’s condition unfolded before us and, whilst I appreciated the calibre of the acting, it felt as though we were in for a grim time. Not so!

Barbara O'Reilly was outstanding as Irene, initiating humorous moments to release the tension in the room…and I genuinely thought Barbara Cartland had been reincarnated, so convincing was Anne Zeeland in a darling role. Liz Cameron and Debbie Morgan played beautifully off each other and the empathy from the audience, for the situation the sisters found themselves in, was palpable. A genuine highlight for me was the flashback scenes with Taylor Port as Shelley dancing across the stage with her handsome beau…and again later when the sad truth is revealed of a son lost. I’m sure I wasn’t the only one moved to wipe away tears at Irene’s frustrations and fear…superbly portrayed with so much heart and emotion.

Fair to say I was blown away. ........Bouquets all round!'

Review for Holt Dramatic Society, Wiltshire, UK. November 2016

'Knowing that this group never fail to challenge it's members and the audience this excellently crafted play was bound to stir up many emotions. It was clear that the audience had, like the reviewer, been through similar circumstances and various scenes were strikingly famiilar. The play itself has a beautiful central love story which added a wonderful warmth to proceedings. This story on it's own would have been sufficiently emotional, but wrapped in the all so relevant issue of Alzheimer's Disease it provided an interesting and thought provoking evening.........'

Audience reaction to the plays premiere in Chester

Fantastic theatre play written by the talented Gail Young ... a true insight into the reality of dementia ... written to stimulate the imagination ... you will laugh and cry at the dilemmas faced by the family ... very well written ... clever, witty, sensitive, touching and funny ......

Last night's performance of Bothered and Bewildered was a real credit to you Gail Young. All I can say is that Art. regardless of which form it takes, is a true miracle. To actually see something that has come from one persons mind be translated for the benefit of the masses is one heck of an achievement. You and the cast executed it beautifully. I honestly take my hat off to you. Well done Gail, thanks for entertaining us.

I thought the scene where the tapping on the window got louder and louder was electrifying. Well done. 5 stars ......

Saw this fab show tonight. Brilliant. Very moving with some great funny moments too. Well done to all involved.

You were all brilliant tonight ... loved the play ... tears of laughter and tears of sadness. Very moving. Thank you all.

I've had a great evening watching "Bothered & Bewildered" at the Gateway Theatre in Chester. It's a brilliantly written script about a families struggle with Alzheimer's. I'd definitely recommend it.

Forthcoming and Recent Productions


Rainham Theatrical Society (RaTS Ltd). The Oasthouse Theatre. Rainham. Kent. 13 - 15 and 20 - 22/9/2018

Chelmsford Theatre Workshop. The Old Court Theatre. Chelmsford. Essex. 20 - 24/3/2018

Partington Players. Glossop. Derbyshire. 29/1 - 3/2/2018


Craven Players. Crackington. Bude. Cornwall. 6 - 8/7/2017

Witney Dramatic Society. Witney. Oxfordshire. 4/2/2017
"Our last production in 2016, 'Bothered and Bewildered' by Gail Young was a huge success, one of our best plays ever! So........we're having an extra one-night-only performance on 4th February, starting at 7.30. This is a wonderful play, full of comedy and pathos .........."


Holt Dramatic Society. Holt. Wiltshire. 10 - 12/11/2016

Witney Dramatic Society. Methodist Church. Witney. Oxfordshire. 28 - 30/10/2016

Playhouse 2. Oldham. Crompton Stage Society. 1 - 8/10/2016

New Forest Players. Ballard Performing Arts Centre. New Milton. Hants. 13 - 16/7/2016

Edinburgh People's Theatre. Church Hill Theatre. Edinburgh. 25/5 - 28/5/2016

Coromandel Players. Coromandel. New Zealand. 28/4 - 7/5/2016

The Late Dame Barbara Cartland

Barbara Cartland who sadly died in May 2000 at the age of nearly 99 was the world's most famous romantic novelist who wrote 723 books in her lifetime with worldwide sales of over 1 billion copies and her books were translated into 36 different languages.

As well as romantic novels, she wrote historical biographies, 6 autobiographies, theatrical plays, books of advice on life, love, vitamins and cookery. She also found time to be a political speaker and television and radio personality.

She wrote her first book at the age of 21 and this was called Jigsaw. It became an immediate bestseller and sold 100,000 copies in hardback and was translated into 6 different languages. She wrote continuously throughout her life, writing bestsellers for an astonishing 76 years. Her books have always been immensely popular in the United States, where in 1976 her current books were at numbers I & 2 in the B. Dalton bestsellers list, a feat never achieved before or since by any author.

Barbara Cartland became a legend in her own lifetime and will be best remembered for her wonderful romantic novels, so loved by her millions of readers throughout the world.

Her books will always be treasured for their moral message, her pure and innocent heroines, her good looking and dashing heroes and above all her belief that the power of love is more important than anything else in everyone's life.