Hiding Heidi (A Tale of Love and Hate in Stoke on Trent) is the latest production from Golden Age Theatre. Written and directed by Ian Dixon Potter, the play is part of Voila! Europe, a festival showcasing plays from across Europe and the UK and celebrating diversity in performing arts.
Heidi is a nurse in post-Brexit Britain forced to leave her job in the hospital as she’s not British. At risk of immediate deportation and not wanting to leave her life in England she finds herself working illegally as a live-in carer for an elderly lady who voted Leave in the referendum and now can’t find a British person to care for her. Cue conversations about the reasons for voting Leave, ‘taking back control’ and the reality of what that means for day to day life. Then the immigration officer comes to call.
The action takes place in the living room of a house in Stoke on Trent where 70% of the population voted Leave. Heidi is played by Siobhan Ward who presents with empathy a woman who has had her life and plans taken away from her through no fault of her own. Richard de Lisle plays her employer, the elderly lady’s son, politically miles away from his mother yet prepared to risk a heavy fine for harbouring an illegal alien to care for her. Maxine Howard is the wheelchair bound Brexiteer finding her views challenged by the arrival of this migrant worker into her home. Kate Carthy plays the nosy neighbour and the sinister immigration officer that shatter Heidi’s hidden life.
It may be too soon for a play about the consequences of Brexit and some of the arguments seemed a little laboured but this show is well acted and makes some interesting points about what the future may bring.
Reviewed by Rhiannon Evans