Back to Hackney

4
Fri, 24th May 19
New play seen at Theatro Technis.

"Warehousing" people with care needs is the name coined by the Guardian for cutting the care costs bill by the government. Inspired by a real-life experience, Back to Hackney by Panayiota Panteli has been written to reflect the real-life crisis taking place when councils refuse to adapt people's homes for them to live as independently as they can.

The cutbacks hit disabled members of the community and this is reflected in this stories heart wrenching tale of Georgia's life-changing accident, where she is paralysed and left wheelchair-bound changes the family's life as they know it.

23-year-old Sophia and 19 years old Alexandra face the reality of becoming their Mum's full-time carer. But this can only happen only if Hackney Council adapt her flat to assist her living needs to allow her to use her wheelchair. The same home the family have lived in for the past twenty years.

Sophia's reaction is one of anger and resentment. In many ways, an understandable response as she realises her own life will now change beyond recognition, and all because, in Sophia"s eyes, her Mother was irresponsible when drunk.

Alexandra, on the other hand, cannot understand her sister's response and just wants her Mum at home. She sets about campaigning to the council and eventually wins to get the adaptations done for them to live together again.

As the situation becomes more intense at times during the play the daughters often descend into bitter arguments and conflicts.

Teresa Taylor's performance as Mum Georgia is outstanding. Her battle to use the newly acquired motorised wheelchair through the traffic cones, learning to use a spoon and applying her own make-up.

The cast of five staged a heartfelt, eye-opening and thought to provoke performance. Panteli's writing captures you with her uncomfortable truth surrounding cutbacks, the warmth and dedication from the overstretched staff in the NHS and the true meaning of being a family.

Any play that tackles poignant and injust social issues with this level of conviction and sensitive understanding deserves a lot of credit.

Elaine Chapman


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