Lovers of provocative theatre, and anyone with an interest in race issues, ‘othering’, populism and the NHS need to check in when Drip Drip Drip comes to The Georgian Theatre Royal, Richmond, on Thursday, March 7.
Pipeline Theatre’s new play is about a disgraced academic, an alt-right provocateur, an anti-Islamist, an anti-immigrant, a racist… who’s also terminally ill, and finding himself treated by an ethnically diverse care team.
The company are well-known for creating character-based dramas with breathtaking design and this is their sixth highly-acclaimed show. Previous productions have all toured nationally and consistently attracted five and four-star reviews including Spillikin that wowed Richmond audiences in 2016.
Artistic co-director and writer for Pipeline, Jon Welch, is disturbed by our capacity on both sides of binary debates to dehumanise our opponents: “Brexit, Trump, walls, immigration, it all comes down to emotion, to tribes. How easy it is to signal one’s loyalties through the 360ᴼ trumpet-cacophony of social media. But when we actually come face-to-face with the ‘other’, what happens when a human being is revealed? Particularly when, as in hospital, the stakes are so high,” he said.
To make the play, Pipeline Theatre has collaborated with an array of medical experts, academics and healthcare workers. According to one: “In some areas, the NHS is a working model of British Colonialism”.
Many threads and stories are interwoven in the plot of Drip Drip Drip which is darkly comic as well as thought-provoking. In an anonymous lecture hall, a disgraced academic ‘race scientist’ gives a secret talk about a hero of his – a Nazi euthanasia doctor, hanged at Nuremberg.
Confusingly for him, at the very same time, in a cancer ward in an overstretched district general hospital, a bewildered trainee nurse from Eritrea, a newly arrived Muslim Doctor, a demoralised consultant and a stressed-out ops manager are trying their best to look after him through the final stages of his illness.
As life ebbs, reality splinters, jumping in time and location between the 3rd Reich euthanasia program, a burns clinic in rural Africa, and the 1977 ‘Battle of Lewisham’ National Front march.
But the most pressing reality of all is that Professor David Jeffs has a speech to finish, and time is running out.
The play carries an age recommendation of 14+.
“Watching a Pipeline Theatre play is like watching one of the classics, trusting all the while that it is carefully building to something sublime.” – The Upcoming
Tickets for Drip Drip Drip are priced from £8 to £16 and are available from the Box Office on 01748 825252 or via the online booking service at www.georgiantheatreroyal.co.uk