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After the Cuts

“Funny and fire-stirring”
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Yikes. Gary McNair’s After the Cuts, one of a few shows about the NHS this Fringe, paints a pretty startling picture of the future; a pretty ominous portrait of where the dismantlement of our public health service will lead.

Set in 2042 in a dystopian Britain where free hospitals are a thing of the past, it presents Jim and Agnes, an ageing couple who can’t afford healthcare. They’re uninsurables. So when Agnes is diagnosed with lung cancer, Jim, a mechanic by trade, can only see one solution: he’ll have to operate on her himself.

It’s a play about surgery, but it’s anything but surgical. McNair’s play has a big, beating heart, and it’s also wickedly funny, especially in the later scenes when Jim starts his bloody preparations, dissecting smaller mammals in his garage and practising on a corpse he’s bodysnatched.

Beth Morton’s production is slow and sensitive, and there’s real tenderness in the relationship between George Docherty’s likeably bumbling George and Pauline Knowles’ potty-mouthed Agnes.

And, although it’s not in the foreground, there’s palpable political anger here, too, driving the dark humour on. Agnes has a particularly brilliant speech, a defiant two fingers to Westminster eloquently encapsulating the casual cruelty of Tory policy – funny and fire-stirring simultaneously.


Related to this Review

Playwrights James Fritz and Gary McNair commissioned by multimillion-pound Audible fundPlaywrights James Fritz and Gary McNair commissioned by multimillion-pound Audible fund

Production Details
Production nameAfter the Cuts
VenueSummerhall
LocationEdinburgh
StartsAugust 1, 2018
EndsAugust 26, 2018
Running time1hr
AuthorGary Mcnair
DirectorBeth Morton
Set designerJessica Brettle
Costume designerJessica Brettle
Lighting designerMalcolm Rogan
Sound designerSimon Liddell
CastGeorge Docherty, Pauline Knowles
Production managerMalcolm Rogan
Stage managerKara Jackson
ProducerIaw The Beacon Arts Centre, Raw Material
VerdictA darkly funny dystopia about life after the dismantling of the NHS
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Fergus Morgan

Fergus Morgan

Fergus Morgan

Fergus Morgan

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