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Review: The Phlebotomist, at Hampstead Theatre

29 March, 2019 — By Sipora Levy

Jade Anouka in The Phlebotomist. Photo: Marc Brenner

AFTER a sell-out run in their studio space last year, The Phlebotomist transfers to the main stage, boasting an Olivier Award nomination.

Ella Road’s powerful debut play imagines a dystopian future that is scarily believable.

Genetic testing has become the norm and ratings can determine everything for a person – from romantic partners to career opportunities or chances of getting a mortgage.

There is plenty of money to be made by unscrupulous people taking advantage of the public’s desperation for higher ratings. Road focuses on a trio of characters, attempting to make the best of this situation, where resources are scarce and even fresh fruit is rationed.

Bea (Jade Anouka) becomes involved with Aaron (Rory Fleck Byrne) and both have high ratings. They set up home together and Bea is eager to strive for the best life possible.

When she is challenged by her friend Char (Kiza Deen) – who has inherited a life-threatening genetic disease – to falsify her ratings, a powerful situation is set up about the moral choices people make when their future is bleak. There is a tragic twist in the tale. This is a dynamic and political play that is so skilfully written that one never feels preached at. There is real chemistry between the characters due to both the sharp and witty dialogue and their brilliant acting

This vibrant production under the confident direction of Sam Yates is riveting, with clips of adverts for enhanced ratings puncturing the action throughout. A chilling and thought-provoking evening.

Until April 20
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