Theatre in Wales

Theatre, dance and performance reviews

A Funny Hard-Hitting Drama

“For All I Care”

National Theatre Wales , Chapter Arts Centre , July-25-19
 “For All I Care” by National Theatre Wales Continuing my attempt to see as many Edinburgh Fringe previews as possible I headed to see Alan Harris’s latest play “ For All I Care” at Chapter Arts Centre.

Anyone who has read any of my previous reviews knows I am a big fan of Alan Harris, who is my favourite current Welsh playwright. He has this exceptional quality of putting real people in extremely surreal situations and making you care about their wellbeing. In recent times he has tackled more serious and relevant topics, eg, dementia and the creation of anti-Muslim extremism in the powerful " The Left Behind", recently aired on the BBC.

"For All We Care" was first performed in Tredegar last year featuring the great Alexandria Riley and is concerned with the state of mental health within the National Health Service.

This is a one-woman show but, definitely, not a one character show. Hannah Daniel plays the 2 main protagonists, Clara and Nyri as well as variety of supporting characters. We first meet Clara a shoplifter to order who has mental health issues and soon comes under the care of Nyri a dedicated NHS worker. It quickly becomes clear that the system can't provide the support Clara need so Nyri takes events into her own hands.

If this sounds rather bleak it isn't as Alan knows humour is the perfect way to soften uncomfortable truths and creates some very funny moments along the way. The result is an hour of top-notch drama. The writing is excellent and the performance of Hannah Daniel is astonishing, switching between different characters in an instant without the audience getting confused about who was who.

I always think the most important part of a play is the ending. Alan clearly has a choice to make and a lot of playwrights would have taken a downbeat pessimistic attitude, but he gives us a glimmer of hope, which I think is the perfect way to finish this analysis of the state of the NHS in Wales.

This is a playwright at the top of his game and well deserves an hour of your time if you find yourself in the Scottish capital next month. Go, it is brilliant!:

Reviewed by: David Cox

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