Theatre review - Tiger Country

GIVEN the current furore over the “unprecedented pressure” on accident and emergency departments, Hampstead Theatre’s rewritten revival of Nina Raine’s 2011 Tiger Country couldn’t be more topical.

"Tiger country" in surgery refers to the threat of accidentally severing an artery. But this could also refer to our embattled health service as it faces financial ruptures that threaten to cause a fatal haemorrhage at any moment.

In Raine’s engaging, heartfelt drama we follow the fortunes of various members of staff in a busy hospital stretched to its limits. These range from trainee doctors, nurses and anaesthetists to weary surgeons and cynical consultants.

Tiger Country is well-researched and refreshingly non-PC. Raine tells it as it is. There’s sexism, racism and downright contempt – patients on the operating table are referred to as “slabs of meat”. Difficult choices have to be made. One doctor laments: “You can’t save everyone.”

There’s a soap opera feel to the production but the impressive 14-strong cast keep it real. Stand-out performances include Ruth Everett as Emily, the newest recruit who trusts her gut instinct, and Indira Varma as Vashti, an uptight but principled urology registrar.

Hampstead Theatre UNTIL JANUARY 17
020 7722 9301

originally published by Camden Review