Theatre review - Super High Resolution

Nathan Ellis’s searing drama about a junior doctor facing burnout while working for the NHS is essential viewing. Jasmine Blackborow gives an unforgettable performance as Anna, 31 years old and on the front line in A&E. She is utterly believable.

Overstretched and starved of sleep, outside work Anna is increasingly numb. Her brisk sister Becca (Leah Whitaker) provides some support but has her own preoccupations. Anna barely has time to visit their widowed father, let alone see friends or have a relationship.

She meets David (an impressive debut from Lewis Shepherd) after a drunken stag night ends with a visit to her hospital. He is dressed as a leprechaun and his inebriated brother-in-law has just punched Anna in the nose.

After including his mobile number on his service feedback, David and Anna meet up. He’s younger than her and works in customer service for a bank.

They start dating and form a fragile bond, largely consisting of sex. David appears to offer Anna a lifeline, but does not live up to expectations.

Every scene, divided by blue hospital curtains, packs a punch. In one Anna counsels an elderly woman (Hayley Carmichael) who appears to be self-harming and is quite possibly suicidal. In another, she is coerced by a pitiless senior doctor, Meredith (Catherine Cusack), to take on more shifts.

Anna tells David that being a junior doctor means she’s at the bottom of the pile: She does a lot of overtime, can’t choose her shifts, or holidays, she misses social stuff and has to pay for her exams.

Later, she advises Becca’s step-daughter, Sammy (LJ Johnson), on her UCAS application to study medicine.

Many of the scenes are heart-breaking but Ellis also finds unexpected humour, particularly in the sisters’ relationship and Anna’s initial romance with David. There’s also dark humour in the litany of her experiences while on duty.

The nuanced writing and performances are superb and Blanche McIntyre’s compelling, compassionate production deserves to be widely seen. 

Until December 3

Originally pubished by Westminster Extra