Fringe review: Tending

Jeremy Welch reviews Tending at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

Normally when the NHS is mentioned it is conjoined to those that want it restructured, those that want more funding and those that think nurses are saints or not.  

All this narrative is usually underpinned by entrenched political views. So it was with some nervousness that I went to see this production.

I cannot tell you how delighted I am that I went. It is truly an incredible insight into the thoughts, minds and driving force of those that elect to be a nurse.  

There is not a word spoken in this performance that has not been spoken by a nurse. It is amazing how few of their tales have any political overtone.

The play narrates why people go into nursing, what compels them to stay against some appalling conditions. The relentless work load is ceaseless, the emotional turmoil is tumultuous, the pay dismal and still they stay.

The actors, Alasdair Linn, Stella Saltibus and El Blackwood , who also wrote the script, deliver a mesmerising performance by narrating the quotes and stories of nurses into a beautifully crafted narrative arc. It’s a stunning performance.

The performers must have read and rehearsed the same lines so often that they could so easily be neutralised to their meaning. 

Not so, the definition of how good this performance is the actors , on occasion, are in tears whilst delivering some of their lines, not thespian tears, but heartfelt and genuine tears.

Tending is a truly extraordinary production in the study of the human condition. There is no political edge, no beautifying the NHS. What it is is compelling and brilliant theatre.

To miss this compassionate, fantastic, beautiful and master crafted play is an error.

The tickets will go, so get one whilst you can , do not hesitate or you’ll miss them.


Tending is on at Greenside at Riddle’s Court, Venue 16, from August 16-19, 21-26.

Tickets can be bought HERE.

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