Standing at the bar, I’m not only greeted with mulled cider on this wintry evening, the smooth sound of Blues musician Rob Green warms the room, which quickly silences.
The play is set in the ‘90s, when pharmaceutical companies were using pregnant women in Africa to trial potential HIV treatment. Through the tumultuous relationship of Patrice (Kuda Zambuko) and Clare (Simone Holmes) the question of whether it was ethical for drugs companies to use these women- often ignorant through lack of explanation- as test studies for HIV medication is explored.
Walking into a medical centre, blood diffusion bags hanging from the ceiling, the entire performance takes place from one setting- one setting and two characters, which is all the narrative needs. The complexity of the underlining question is broken down into the perspectives of two lovers and set out for the audience to decide for themselves.
With an intimate stage layout, the powerful emotions of Clare and Patrice are almost tangible to the audience. It is only when the soft vocals of Green roll on and off stage, lacing the entire piece together, that we are reminded that we are just spectators.
Cider gulped, performance concluded, the question over the morality of these drug trials flickers in my mind- surely the sign of any worthwhile show? Thought-provoking, moving and memorable: a play which will captivate.