Super High Resolution, Soho Theatre, 2022
Photo by Helen Murray
  • Theatre, Drama
  • Recommended


‘Super High Resolution’ review

3 out of 5 stars

Blanche McIntyre directs this impassioned new drama about NHS burnout

Alice Saville

Time Out says

After a few years in which we've constantly heard that doctors and nurses are heroes – superheroes, even! – Nathan Ellis's play ‘Super High Resolution’ shows that overstretched NHS workers are all too human.

Anna (Jasmine Blackborow) is a burnt-out 31-year-old junior doctor who's pretty much numbed herself to the highs (and more often, lows) of working in A&E. Then a drunk guy dressed as a leprechaun punches her on her shift, and his charismatic mate David (Lewis Shepherd) makes it up to Anna by asking her on a date, and tending to her psychological bruises.

Meanwhile, Anna’s struggling to connect to her sister Becca (Leah Whitaker), who can’t understand why she wants to do a job that's so draining, so harrowing. ‘Your work stories always start alright and the suddenly there's a placenta on the ceiling,’ Becca complains, delivering one of the play's funniest lines.
Director Blanche McIntyre and designer Andrew Edwards subdivide Soho Theatre's main stage with pale blue hospital curtains, creating tidy transitions from scene to scene. Then, things abruptly get messy, as Anna breaks down and the audience is overwhelmed with a barrage of light and sound. 

Ellis was inspired to write this play by seeing his sister reach the verge of quitting her job as a doctor, as well as by the strikingly high suicide rate among medics. So it makes sense that its most insightful lines are given to Anna, who diagnoses the NHS's failings with blunt, depressive concision. But some of the other roles are less well drawn, bordering on triteness, like the older female doctor who ends up sobbing because no one ever makes her a birthday cake.

Ellis's rave-reviewed previous play, 'work.txt', felt like a real moment: the audience came together to perform it, creating an emotive sense of temporary community. The subject matter here is more obviously heartstring-tugging, but it doesn't have the same emotional impact. Still, it's a valuable reminder that an embattled, underfunded NHS isn't just failing its patients – it's failing its staff too.


£14-£24. Runs 1hr 20min
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