Palace Theatre 20 Clarendon Road WD17 1JZ To 28 June.
2pm 28 Jun.
3pm 25 Jun.
5pm 28 Jun.
7pm 26, 27 Jun.
7.30pm 25 Jun.
9pm 26 Jun.
10pm 27 Jun.
Runs 1hr 5min No interval.
TICKETS: 01923 225671.
Review: Timothy Ramsden 24 June.
Every apologist for privatisation of medical services should be confronted with this, and all NHS staff should be invited to see it as evidence of how strongly their work is valued and advocated.
Tangled Feet theatre company untangles the stresses in, and strains on, Britain’s National Health Service. It hits home strongly, if at first seeming uncertain of its audience.
Film extracts document the NHS’s hopeful beginnings. But anyone identifying the voice of its creator Aneurin Bevan, or recognising him as the smiling figure surrounded by a circle of nurses in part of the film is unlikely to need the basic information and pro-NHS sentiments that follow.
These suggest an influence of theatre-in-education (TIE) at its crudest. A far better TIE spin-off demonstrates an overstretched hospital’s emergency admissions procedure by shifting audience members around.
Essential points are made in short realistic scenes, with the seven cast members mostly playing several roles amid a recurrent sense of hurry. Enriching these are memorable physical images. A doctor has to choose between employing medical staff or a business consultant to protect his department’s work from being outsourced.
The argument’s clear in the dialogue, but it’s likely to be remembered from the image of the doctor mid-air struggling with computer printouts as if battling a dragon or snake.
This company spends a lot of time in mid-air, hoist on harnesses or climbing through foot and hand-holds. As a patient undergoes a serious operation, the medical team stand round an empty bed; the patient swims above, control over her movement slipping with the difficulties encountered.
Among these images, and the realistic story of a male nurse whose manner with his female patient exemplifies humanity at its best (as the paperwork building for him while he does so indicates administration at its worst), there flies at moments a death-figure in grey, bird-of-prey mask.
The red feathers it drops are a fatal portent, and a blood substitute; at one of the most moving moments the male nurse raises his patient to discover with silent shock a huge red feather on the bed behind her back.
Care celebrates the care the NHS provides, and attacks the lack of care among politicians who see only a source of profit in others’ illness, hitting home strongly through its clear cases and stark images.
Cast and credits not available.