‘For All I Care’ is a 1-hour, 1 woman show set in and performed in Tredegar, the home of the NHS as birthplace of its founder Aneurin Bevan.
It follows the story of Clara, a mentally unwell shoplifter from Tredegar, who is in and out of the mental health system and her nurse Nyri, (gettit?) a mental health nurse who encapsulates what the NHS is meant to be about. Both characters go on a journey together, leading to an ending that will keep the audience talking for the whole drive home.
Performer Alexandria Riley did an amazing job, playing six different characters throughout the piece. She was engaging and completely irreverent, using different accents, energy and physical elements to separate her characters. Jac Ifan Moore’s direction was also fantastic, using a minimal stage for this intimate space, using minimal props and letting the performer and the script, just get on with it.
Most notable was the play itself. Alan Harris writes an amazing piece of theatre, deliberately containing sub-textual phrases and moments throughout his script that subconsciously make the audience feel like they are part of the NHS too. By the end of the play we were left theorising ‘how we can make a difference to the NHS’.
This is an incredibly entertaining one hour of one’s life. I would highly recommend that people make the effort to see this. Good one woman shows like this don’t come often.
To me there is one line that in the show that sums this play up, “We are all patients once in a while”.
NHS70 – A Love Letter to the NHS, National Theatre Wales, a part of the ‘NHS70: A Festival’ running from the 11thto the 28thof July.
Brad Channer is a New Voices reviewer supported by Wales Critics Fund