And No More Shall We Part
Deeply affecting contemplation of voluntary euthanasia
This article is from 2012.
Voluntary euthanasia is possibly the most contentious moral issue of our times; made more urgent by both economic austerity and an ageing population. It is, perhaps, surprising therefore that the theatre hasn’t broached the subject more often than it has.
Tom Holloway’s play (directed for Hampstead Theatre by James Macdonald) is a deeply affecting contemplation of the topic, not as an abstract concern, but in the agonising situation of a loving couple, one of whom has decided to end her life.
Pam’s prognosis is bad. Her doctors have recommended that her treatment be stopped. To the shock and disbelief of her husband, Don, she has taken detailed advice on how to end her life, at home, before her unnamed condition degenerates to the point where living becomes unbearable.
Dearbhla Molloy and Bill Paterson achieve tremendously emotive, tender performances as Macdonald’s stage-revolve moves us back and forward in time. The play never polemicises, but Pam’s need to contend, not only with fatal illness, but also the law feels like a gratuitous moral burden.
Traverse Theatre, 228 1404, until 26 Aug, times vary, £18–£20 (£13–£15)