Although this year’s spring/summer season of A Play, A Pie and A Pint may be drawing to a close, they are showing no signs of fatigue. This week’s performance is oozing with talent, with writer Meghan Tyler supported by a stellar cast and production team. In an acerbic and ruthless indictment on the current state of the nation under the Conservative’s leadership, Bloodbank takes the idea of the Tories bleeding society and its resources dry to the extreme.
In the backroom of a local food bank, Chancellor of the Exchequer, Priya, and NHS nurse, Caris, have come to an unusual clandestine agreement. Desperate to preserve her beauty, Priya employs Caris to find whatever method will allow her to keep her youthful appearance. When the pair find themselves caught in a compromising position by Bonnie – a regular user of the foodbank – Priya uses her power and influence to both protect her public image and obtain what she so deeply desires.
A story of exploitation and corruption, this is in no way a subtle commentary on today’s socioeconomic situation. Very much in keeping with the PPP’s political philosophy, Tyler’s script doesn’t hold back in its scathing critique of the Tory government and how it has left families going hungry, stripped the NHS to its bare bones, and left millions of people without care and support after the COVID-19 pandemic. While it is refreshing to hear such an unfiltered attack on the Tories and the mess that they made of things, it does border on overkill.
Thankfully, the combination of Tyler’s dark, witty humour and this excellent group of actors prevents Bloodbank from becoming an hour-long, one-note tirade. Rehanna Macdonald relishes her role as the play’s (and nation’s) villain who is corrupt to her very core. Her sparring matches with Lynsey-Anne Moffat as Caris, her nurse/aesthetician/secret lover, is sharp and entertaining. Out of the three, Moffat’s character represents the most terrifying aspect of this bleak reality we are faced with; that when there is so much wrong with the world, it is easy to stop caring. Rounding off the trio is Anna Russell Martin’s Bonnie, a quick-on-her-feet and kind-hearted individual who has repeatedly been let down by underfunded public services and heartless government bodies. Desperate to be able to feed her family, she becomes easy prey for Priya’s predatorial nature.
With an eclectic playlist featuring My Chemical Romance and Beyoncé, as well as a hot pink and blood red colour palette, this play is bold in every aspect. It’s somewhat sobering to admit that, despite how absurd the action becomes, the strong dose of reality it administers remains at the forefront of your mind. Dark and daring, Bloodbank leaves you craving some real justice.