Originally written in 2018 as part of National Theatre Wales’ NHS70 celebrations For All I Care is now a year older and, fortunately, it’s a year of development that has really benefited the piece. This new iteration of Alan Harris’ one-woman show now comes with a new actor and a new staging, giving it the feel of something that is fresh and new.
What hasn’t changed is the emotional depth of this comedy drama. Harris writes beautifully of the relationship between an overworked nurse and a suicidal teenager, all told under the shadow of a faltering NHS. There’s an interesting parallel between the reverence with which Harris writes about Fairwater in Sugar Baby and the NHS here, one’s importance as crucial as the other.
Whether by design or circumstance director Jac Ifan Moore replaces the traverse staging with a traditional platform one, which means the audience don’t miss anything. Katy Morison’s lighting design is typically brilliant, her presence so integral to enhancing the surreality now so synonymous with Harris’ work.
The final word is reserved for Hannah Daniel, who is a magnetic presence on stage as Clara and Nyri. Helped no doubt in the rehearsal room by Ifan Moore, Daniel does a superb job of switching characters with the most subtle of tonal and physical shifts. For a play so steeped in sentimentality, Daniel doesn’t lay it on thick either – that race to the final, emotional punch is very much a marathon rather than a sprint. It’s yet another example of how, in the last twelve months, For All I Care has developed into a very strong and polished piece of theatre. And, of course, a much-deserved salute to Wales’ greatest achievement.