HAMPSTEAD DOWNSTAIRS/CELIA ATKIN PRESENT
By ELLA ROAD
Directed by SAM YATES
Running time: 2 HOURS INCLUDING INTERVAL
£5 - £14
(See ticket information)
All these people are getting their dating profiles blood-verified. You know, shouldn’t we just go for the people we fancy?
12 Apr - 19 May 2018
£5 - £14
Box Office: 020 7722 9301
Bea meets Aaron. He’s intelligent, handsome, makes her laugh and, most importantly, has a high rating on his genetic profile. What’s not to like?
Char is on the brink of landing her dream job and has big plans to start a family - but her blood rating threatens it all.
In a world where future happiness depends on a single, inescapable blood test – which dictates everything from credit rating to dating prospects - how far will people go to beat the system and let nature take its course?
Ella Road’s debut play is a powerfully provocative vision of the future, questioning the value we place on one another, whether knowledge really is power, and if it’s truly possible for love to conquer all.
Sam Yates makes his Hampstead Theatre directorial debut. His theatre credits include Glengarry Glen Ross starring Christian Slater (West End), Murder Ballad (West End), East is East (West End/UK Tour) and The El. Train, starring Ruth Wilson (Hoxton Hall).
★★★★ 'A gasp-worthy thriller' The Guardian
★★★★ 'Ella Road's writing is as fresh as tomorrow’s dawn' Evening Standard
★★★★ 'A special, clever dystopian play' The Stage
★★★★ 'Ella Road has a real subtle touch as a writer' WhatsOnStage
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'Bea (Jade Anouka), a phlebotomist, falls head over heels in love with Aaron (Rory Fleck Byrne) and the pair bond over poetry and pineapple juice. They live in a world, not far in the future, where scientific advances mean that a simple blood test can predict whether and when you will develop diseases. Even whether you have a propensity towards rule-breaking. You don’t have to find out your rating, but nondisclosure looks as if you have something to hide.'
'Dating sites are all about ratings, but Bea and Aaron are in love, and the outlook looks bright. It’s when Bea’s friend Char (Cherrelle Skeete) asks her for help in faking her own blood test that the future starts to get rather murkier.'
'Ella Road’s debut play is a racy dystopian thriller that is part Black Mirror and part Brave New World. It comes very neatly packaged in a production by Sam Yates that elicits terrific performances, particularly from Anouka as a woman who wants a sure return on her emotional investments, but discovers real love is unconditional.'
Lyn Gardner, 27 April, 2018
'Ella Road’s disturbing debut play pictures a society infatuated with eugenics. Everyone has a rating that reflects how soon they’ll succumb to illness or infirmity. Only citizens with high scores are eligible for the best jobs, and those with low ones struggle to get mortgages or insurance.'
'Sam Yates’ lean production uses video to establish the play’s futuristic context, and the action takes place on a long traverse stage, which means the characters seem like lab specimens chosen for the audience’s anxious scrutiny. The performances pop with vitality, as magnetic Jade Anouka and the coolly rumpled Rory Fleck Byrne make Bea and Aaron's moments of intimacy sing.'
'The culture this two-hour piece imagines is alarmingly plausible. The issues being addressed here are important, and Road tackles them with confidence. At its best her writing is as fresh as tomorrow’s dawn.'
Henry Hitchings, 27 April, 2018
'It’s said a good piece of theatre begins as late and ends as early as possible in the framework of a story. Playing in Hampstead Theatre’s Downstairs space, Ella Road’s debut play The Phlebotomist does this and more, throwing us into the middle of a near-future dystopian Britain via the beginning (and perhaps the end) of one couple’s relationship.'
'Road’s writing feels charged, answering just enough questions to leave the imagination to run wild, while Sam Yates’ direction works well with the traverse set up. Rosanna Vize’s design, full of small touches like the progressively littered stage, is a treat. Duncan McLean’s smart, funny video design helps fill in the context of the world well.'
'The supporting characters — Vincent Ebrahim’s zen, wise David and Cherelle Skeete’s career-driven, fearful then hopeful Char—both shine, as do Rory Fleck Byrne and Jade Anouka as couple Aaron and Bea.'
'The Phlebotomist is a special, clever play that is really about the relationships that thrive and fail within it.'
Bridget Minamore, 26 April, 2018
'A phlebotomist is someone who extracts blood from patients. And it's a job that has huge significance in the dystopian world of Ella Road's piece, where people are rated by the health, or otherwise, of their blood.'
'Road has a real subtle touch as a writer. She never undermines the audience and the information about the play's social setting is drip fed by little lines and signifiers.'
'The characters are nicely drawn and the whole cast is strong, particularly Jade Anouka and Cherrelle Skeete as Char, who have a brilliantly warm and real friendship... The two of them give beautifully judged performances which are so enjoyable to watch.'
'Sam Yates' direction is sharp-eyed and he deals with the many changes in scene very well, letting the set become a messy space filled with props and costume detritus. It's a reminder that this is a play – a fiction – but makes you ask: for just how long?'
Diasy Bowie-Sell, 26 April, 2018
RORY FLECK BYRNE
Lyn Gardner awards Ella Road's The Phlebotomist four stars
Henry Hitchings awards Ella Road's The Phlebotomist four stars
Bridget Minamore awards Ella Road's The Phlebotomist four stars
Daisy Bowie-Sell awards Ella Road's The Phlebotomist four stars
Jade Anouka and Rory Fleck Byrne star in Ella Road's new play
Priority Booking for Friends and Patrons is now open for all four shows.
First five performances: All tickets £5
The next twelve performances: £12
Performances thereafter: £14
Seniors: £10 (matinee only)
Under 30s and Students: £10
Groups: For every 9 tickets get the 10th free