This May Hurt a Bit at the St James Theatre starring Stephanie Cole
The Other Palace Theatre, 12 Palace Street, London, SW1E 5JA

ABOUT This May Hurt a Bit

Out of Joint returns to the St James Theatre with Stella Feehily’s new play This May Hurt a Bit staring Stephanie Cole.

Following their acclaimed production of Our Country’s Good, Out of Joint return to the St James Theatre in London this summer with Max Stafford-Clark’s acclaimed touring production of NHS play This May Hurt a Bit.

A month after stating “we will stop the top-down reorganisation of the NHS that has got in the way of patient care”, the government launched the biggest top-down reorganisation the service had seen in its 65-year history.

With wit, tenderness and a dose of surrealism, Stella Feehily’s new play explores one family’s journey through the digestive system of the NHS, and asks: what is the prognosis for this much-loved institution?


Stephanie Cole (Waiting for God) stars as Iris, with Jane Wymark as Mariel/The NHS and Tristram Wymark as Winston Churchill/Mr Weaver, plus Brian Protheroe, Frances Ashman and Natalie Klamar.


★★★★ “A touching drama about one family’s encounters with their local hospital intertwines with a surreal, hilarious and hard-hitting examination of the history, politics, economics and day-to-day running of the NHS… Max Stafford-Clark’s direction is masterly. A naturalistic moment moves to tears, a hard fact strikes to anger, an absurdity raises laughter… Each member of his eight-strong cast is a joy to watch, in every single one of their 25 characters. This co-production between Bolton Octagon and Out of Joint is every bit as theatrically entertaining as it is politically committed.” The Observer

★★★★ “Stella Feehily’s passionate, urgently topical play… Our theatre has long been crying out for a new play on the subject” The Guardian

★★★★★ “Told with truth, humour and understanding… Very funny and entertaining. I was enthralled by the production’s complexity, bravado and freshness and also the fine performances of each member of the eight-strong cast. Ensemble theatre at its best.” Oxford Times

★★★★★ “As agit-prop theatre goes, Max Stafford-Clark’s production must surely rank as one of the most stylish ever staged” Whatsonstage