Theatre in Wales

Theatre, dance and performance reviews

Come Back Tomorrow

At National Theatre

National Theatre Wales , Singleton Hospital, Swansea , July 29, 2018
At National Theatre by National Theatre Wales "In Singleton Hospital’s chapel, a woman splits herself in two. Ginny Holder performs first as grandmother, then granddaughter – both of them tired NHS nurses. What with the racism, cuts and lack of appreciation, few love letters deserve to be filled with such rage.

"Holder initially brims with hope as Gloria, a member of the Windrush generation, in 1952. Her husband trips from one job to another, moving to Swansea with the idea that the Welsh are friendlier than the English. But it doesn’t seem so. Spat at, yelled at and recoiled from on her daily rounds, Gloria learns the difference between a scream of pain and one of anger.

"Switching accents and slipping off her shoes, Holder plays present-day A&E nurse Judy, reaching breaking point. The seams of the NHS are coming apart, and the racist insults Gloria faced have spilled through time undeterred. Preparing to hand in her resignation, Judy’s compassion slips.

"Judy fits Holder less comfortably, the shape and feel of the character are less defined. She stumbles over the words and the story judders slower. Paulette Randall’s direction begs for variety in rhythm and tone.

"Roy Williams’ script is plain, and most interesting when resting at the eye-level of children. One child holds Gloria’s hand and Katy Morison’s lighting design sinks into soft blue. Williams asks how we influence our children; how we can pick empathy over anger.

"Under the light of the chapel’s stained glass, the belief is not in a god but in nurses and the stories they carry. “Why didn’t you quit?” Judy asks her grandmother. “Because we were needed,” Gloria replies."


Reviewed by: Guardian

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