Review: White Nurse at the Lion and Unicorn Theatre

Sunday 11th August 2019 at the Lion and Unicorn Theatre.


Abby Coppard’s White Nurse looks at the familiar territory of toxic relationships and considers the implications of an individual trying to extricate herself from one dependent relationship by experimenting with another.

Joe is a classic controlling manipulator. Layla is the classic manipulated woman trapped in an unhealthy relationship. He lacks sincerity and self-control, she lacks the strength to challenge him in any way. We learn this in snapshots of retrospect as Layla is undergoing treatment for her ‘addiction’ to a damaging force in her life and each scene is both enlightening and very well played by Aisling Lally and Mitchell Siddons, with Lally giving a particularly strong performance with moments of great poignancy.

The premise of that Layla has checked into a special clinic which promises to rid her of Joe and his shackles with just eight doses of a miracle treatment. It’s an interesting idea and it allows Coppard to approach a much explored area from a slightly different angle but while this is well written and acted, it doesn’t take the concept of this futuristic antidote far enough in any particular direction.

I’d be very interested to see this piece develop the role of the White Nurse further because in all honesty, the story wouldn’t much change in direction or outcome if Layla simply sat in a room reflecting on moments from her relationship without the brief arrival and departure of the third character (Rebecca McGreevy). If she and/or this antidote is to be a valuable element of the story, there to be needs more invested.

Overall, White Nurse is a well considered, well acted and simply directed (Keira MacAlister) piece. It gets close to exploring common subject matter through an original approach but doesn’t do enough with the central focus of its premise to stand apart from other pieces exploring the same subject matter.

White Nurse played the Lion and Unicorn Theatre as part of the Camden Fringe.

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