Whose Life is it Anyway?

Production: Whose Life is it Anyway?
Venue: Drama Barn
Rating: * * *

The Drama Barn was transformed into a white, clinical hospital room for the production of Whose Life Is It Anyway? by award-winning playwright Brian Clark. The plight of Claire Harrison, a sculptor paralysed after a brutal car crash, is documented in a piece of theatre which manages to ask some potentially very awkward moral questions, while still remaining an entertaining piece of drama.

In spite of the subject matter, there was no shortage of comedy here with moments of hilarity juxtaposed against the human tragedy. There was no end to Claire’s often caustic comments, however, as time passed I began to tire of this incessant sarcasm during the first half, the fault of the sometimes weak script. At times the balancing act between creating a piece of entertainment and asking serious questions produced uneven dialogue. However, this was more than made up for by the cast. Convincing performances came from Mark Smith and Dan Sofaer as Claire’s doctors and also from Charlie Bruce’s perfectly patronising social worker. Cat Smith brought some much needed innocence as Nurse Kay Sadler, but the highlight of the play was indeed Rebekah Brazier, giving us an extremely powerful depiction of quadrapelgia.

The second half was emotionally intense and well executed, compensating for what had been a shaky first half. It ended a compelling and forceful production.