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A Bloodless Field at the Old Operating Theatre

Leigh Hatts

The Old Operating Theatre is the location for two medical plays presented in the round.

Ellen Hughes, who directs for Southwark Playhouse, and Sally Toosey have adapted Robert Louis Stevenson's The Body Snatcher. Their suggested location is Guy's Hospital with the bodies being snatched from St Saviour's churchyard as Southwark Cathedral's graveyard was known in the early 19th century.

James Thorne plays an intense young medical student who finds himself receiving bodies at midnight. Martina Clarke plays the young Southwark girl and a body. The operating theatre stage becomes a convincing operating theatre as the story unfolds. 'Specimens' are handed up to the onlookers.

The Gift, Ellen and Sally's second play, is set in a present day London hospital where a transplant surgeon, played by John Gorick, is haunted by his only fatality. Martina Clarke and Michael Lovatt are bodies in and out of bed in quick change scenes. Those who have recently been in a hospital and lost a relative may find the tale difficult to enjoy. Those who work in a hospital may also find the scenes thought provoking. Certainly the theatre company Metal and Bone has impressive medical credits in the programme.

An important part of the evening is the opportunity to view the herb garret during interval and be called back to the theatre by the players still in character. It's a thought provoking two hours.

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