Play: Get Well Soon
Venue: Clements Hall, York
Review by: Julia Pattison
Once again it was a delight to see the Mikron Theatre Company back in York with a new play written by York playwright Ged Cooper, Get Well Soon – celebrating 70 years of the NHS.
A political hot potato of a subject to write about, at times bordering on preaching about the ills of privatisation in the NHS, but thanks to a talented and cast and the excellent direction of artistic director Marianne McNamara, in true Mikron style, serious messages were mixed with plenty of puns, comedy, and marvellous music.
Ged cleverly chose to celebrate the NHS’s birthday by imagining a baby born in 1948, at St Monica’s Hospital, on the same day Nye Bevan introduced free health care for all, then featuring that baby in 2018, 70 year old Brian (James McLean) who was recovering from a stroke.
We got to know about him and Danuta (Rosamund Hine) a Polish nurse who was caring for Brian but faced losing her job due to NHS cuts, and his family, son Simon, a highly stressed manager at the same hospital (Christopher Arkeston), and his daughter and Brian’s granddaughter, Daisy (Daisy Ann Fletcher).
We follow the negative impact that Kindly Care (a well-chosen ironic name) had on them all, with all four actors seamlessly switching roles and singing brilliantly.
However, the gratitude and true affection for our NHS came across loud and clear, in Brian’s Song (wonderfully delivered as always by veteran Mikron actor James McLean) and the lively musical finale number Ship of Hope. The cast richly deserved their standing ovation from the audience.
As Ged herself said: “The ship is battered but it’s still afloat.” Long may that ship continue to sail!