Writer: Daniel Winterstein Director: Anna Zolotoff Dates: Feb 28th & March 2nd
Venue: Bedlam Theatre 0131 225 9873
also reviewed by Maureen a play now ended Painkillers Writer: Steve Potts Director: Sarah Cook Dates:Run ended Venue: Bedlam Theatre (details as above) Reviewer: Maureen Sangster
There's real delight in hearing a new playwriting voice for the first
time. Both Daniel Winterstein, An NHS Christmas and Steve Potts,
Painkillers have talent. Both give us plays expressing dissatisfaction
with the NHS. Both present us with characters in extremis. But bleak
- as these two plays are - they are also enjoyable.
The strength of An NHS Christmas is its witty language and polemical
vigour. Dark angry cynicism comes from Jeffrey, an elderly gentleman
as he talks to Alex, the young man who's found himself in geriatrics
because of lack of space. 'I could have afforded a luxury such as a
living wife' is Jeffrey's comment on how if he'd been rich he could
have bought a by-pass operation for his wife. But the play needs an
ending, one recognisable to the audience!
The strength of Painkillers is the interaction between characters,
two overdose patients in a hospital ward. It's more integrated, character-
wise, than An NHS Christmas which drew the character of Jeffrey
so well that the other three characters were in his shadow. Painkillers
shows real tenderness between its characters. All the actors did
well. In An NHS ChristmasDustin Hutchinson did justice
to a wonderful part as Jeffrey and Isabella Jakubas, in a more
diffcult role was convincing as a disillusioned young nurse. Liz
Berry in Painkillers conveyed anguish so well I nearly cried.
A little updating of hospital procedures is needed ( hospitals use machines
to take temperatures now, not thermometers). But these are brave plays,
well directed and managing to be theatrical within the restrictions
of most of the characters being confined to hospital beds. You can catch
the last performance of An NHS
Christmas tonight, Friday 2nd March.