REVIEW: How to Keep Time ★★★★

Subtitled ‘A Drum Solo for Dementia’, Antosh Wojcik’s debut solo show is a gem of a find. Using a combination of spoken word and drumming, Wojcik explores the effects of dementia on speech in a precise, original performance which is both analytical as it is emotional.

Using just his words and a drum kit, Wojcik tells us of his frequent visits to his grandfather, who is suffering with dementia, in hospital. Wojcik uses his drum kit to assign a rhythm to his grandfather, emulating his speech pattern with his music – a stuttering dialogue accompanied by shaking hands which consequently hit the drums, causing a nervous sort of noise. Rhythms are assigned to his other family members too including the bold brashness of his father, ready to claim his own father is ‘gone’ before he is dead.

The observation of speech and music is clever, as Wojcik explains dementia as playing the same drum rhythm but with the drum sounds all mixed up – it sounds familiar, but not quite right. Moments when Wojcik begins to slip into his own head and thoughts accompanied with heavy metal drumming encapsulates the idea of dementia and memory loss in an indirect way and are cleverly observed.

But it’s not a completely serious piece. Wojcik is a commanding performer who can change from a serious tone in one breath to an offhand comment about his grandfather’s floral chairs being “not his aesthetic” in another.

‘How to Keep Time’ is an original, thought-provoking piece which will leave you stunned and in awe at the skill displayed.


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