For All I Care is an incredible exploration of what the NHS is – not the politics and workings of it, but the human component that it exists for. The one-person show, written by Alan Harris and directed by Jac Ifan Moore, stars the extraordinarily talented Hannah Daniel who carries the show in a moving tour-de-force that highlights the fear, exhaustion, and hope surrounding the NHS.
Daniel plays two sides of the same coin: Clara, a woman struggling with mental illness, and Nyri, her nurse. Distinguished by a pair of pink plastic sunglasses, Daniel expertly transitions between roles and brilliantly plays both roles distinctly and extraordinarily realistically. The writing certainly helped with that as well; Harris managed to write such amazing dialogue that truly captured each character’s essence. Nyri speaks exhaustedly, anxiously questioning herself as she finds herself in a mid-life crisis. Clara’s dialogue, on the other hand, could have come straight out of a David Foster Wallace work, bouncing back and forth, exposing every little thought in her head.
What makes For All I Care so profound is how simple it is. The work seeks to tell one simple story: how Nyri came to take care of Clara. Yet interwoven within it is a story of the whole NHS, of societal faults, of limitless human compassion. Under the direction of Moore, the set consists only of glossy mats, a single chair, and three microphones hanging from the ceiling. In this minimal environment, Daniel raises herself on the chair, runs around the stage, and is given the freedom to focus on conveying emotion and power.
Elegant, powerful, flawless – For All I Care shows how strong a one-person show can be if it truly is planned and intentional. With superb writing from Harris and beautiful direction by Moore, Daniel is able to give the performance of a lifetime, showing the highs and lows of humanity. It also couldn’t be more timely as Brexit threatens the supply and function of the NHS. But For All I Care gives hope; it shows that through the scariest and roughest of times, human compassion will thrive and come through.
For All I Care is on at Summerhall – Main Hall
At 13:30 until 25th August
Book tickets here.
Image: Glenn Edwards