NHS Truths Revealed in Powerful Work.

Pipeline Theatre Presents

Drip, Drip, Drip,

Tuesday 12/March/2019

Walker Theatre


With not a cream tea in sight Pipeline Theatre, a Cornish Theatre company, work their way through an explosive storyline to pay homage to the NHS and the heroes who work within it.

The piece was written following a week’s workshop and fact finding mission amongstthe company and NHS workers, exploring the real practices that occur in a grossly underfunded cancer ward in a hospital in The UK.

There is much more to it than that as they don’t just look at shortages and illnesses, instead the company found, love, death, racism and hob nobs (to quote their publicity) this is a great human tale. It is a tale of how hard working health professionals have so much to deal with , far more than we the recipient patients can begin to imagine.

One is concerned to witness the racism that can be found within the NHS: Be it either patient to patient, patient to nurse, doctor to nurse , and worst of all patient to doctor and nurse. The whole story happened around a terminally ill man who had an admiration for the son of a Nazi and had been an active member of the National Front when he was younger.

 All one can hope in reaction to the narrative is the racism was overstated but I imagine not. What we learned from this piece of theatre is that racism is very much alive in the NHS. Had this come from a playwright that had only imagined how it might be if racism were so prevalent in the NHS, one could pass it as license but no, this had come from employees themselves. One felt shock. One was supposed to!

The set for the piece was a cleverly worked pair of medical screens just by turning them slightly a whole new space would appear be it a bay in a ward, or the staff room or the administrator’s office. There was a lectern which doubled as a work station and they employed a wheelchair and a small manikin who silently played the patient’s son in early recollections. Minimalistic and yet cleverly creating new spaces. Genius.

The disembodied voice one heard of the patient as he spoke to himself as he became overwhelmed by his new situation, worked well as the voice travelled around the auditorium.

The acting in this piece is sublime some of the best acting seen on this stage for sometime the speed in which characters were found, disgarded and chaged was wonderful. An acting triumph!

This is a great piece of theatre, it doesn’t scream to one what is wrong in the NHS instead it just offers up an honest and genuine summary that Pipeline had worked through with the NHS employees.

One is tired of being bashed about the cranium with messages of the unrepresented, be it whomsoever chooses to assault our senses at any one time. What pipeline do is peel back the wallpaper and give the audience a look at all the cracks. It is obvious that the crisis in the NHS has many faces and each one issue would be a problem on its own but combined it can create chaos.

There was a sense of chaos at times when nurses and doctors were rushing around. The point that not enough people are doing twice the work of one was highly apparent. How easy it would be to rant about everything that is wrong with the NHS, one isn’t here for that. Here we talk theatre and hope the bigger messages that are being talked about are being addressed by those who can effect change. All I would say here in a moment of temporary suspension of objectivity I hope things get sorted. I would like to think we spend more on saving life than taking it with guns and tanks…that’s all I will say.

Instead one shall say this is a relevant, hard hitting comment on the lot of a bunch of heroes. Those heroes we rely on a daily basis, those heroes who are there when they are needed.

No  excuse can be presented for underfunding or racism. This play shows that both are burning issues. This play should be seen by the ones who can make a difference one would wish they went  back to work, their constituents and their colleagues and  start the changes that this play tells us are so badly needed. No one could have said it better than Pipeline are saying it right now.

This is a Five Star Review

Owen j Lewis




Owen Lewis Owen Lewis

Owen Lewis was born fifty something years ago in the land of the black puddings. For the geographically challenged that is in Lancashire. Moving to Shropshire From 1970 Owen was brought up in Church Stretton. His first real job was in radio. After starting on BBC Radio Shropshire he became known on Marcher Sound, broadcasting throughout the North West for several years. After a university degree course in Theatre, Owen became an actor and went on to play "Pirate Bill" in The Alton Towers Hotel. He also made several television appearances. Returning to university he took his PGCE enabling him to teach. That saw him on the Essex coast as a drama teacher and latterly as a Creative Educational Liaison Officer making films and creating new teaching methods to employ on children in need of more help in their fundamental learning skills. Three times Published playwright Owen ultimately wants a house boat in Amsterdam to focus on his work as Playwright and Poet. See more on www.ojlwritingservices.co.uk.

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