Do I Look Like I Care? will have you laughing so hard, you’ll regret not bringing a spare pair of underwear.
Marketed as a feminist comedy, the show is set in a Perth hospital, in a transitory space of illness that, for patients, is often associated with pain and loss. For nurses, however, it becomes a space associated with long hours, hard work and, of course, the diverse cast of rather colourful patients they treat throughout the day.
Underpinning the jokes and one-liners that makes this play iconic is a harsh truth, an honesty about how patient experiences impact the staff who care for them. What emerges from this is a camaraderie and a deep sense of just how isolating these experiences are.
This is emphasised with Flo, a newly qualified nurse from the North of England who feels the isolation of the industry more than most, being also separate from her support network back home. Not always belonging even among nurses, Flo quickly learns that you need to laugh through the sadness just to survive it.
Do I Look Like I Care? is an incredible coming-of-age story that blurs the line between comedy and tragedy.
While the highlights of this one-hour play are the young nurses, notable mentions much be given to the charge nurse, who is reminiscent of Trunchbull in Tim Minchin’s Matilda, as well as a doctor who exists on stage largely to remind the nurses of his much higher position in the hospital hierarchy.
Even when changing the set, actors don’t break character. By the end of the show, the performances from this small cast will have you wanting to throw roses at their feet (sanitised COVIDSafe roses, of course). Don’t be surprised if you miss the fact that each actor is playing multiple roles. They transition so seamlessly between playing staff and patients, you often need to do a double take to remember where it is you’ve seen them before. While the passage of time is sometimes disjointed, this has little implication on the show itself.
Do I Look Like I Care? is the perfect feel-good show for your FRINGE WORLD Festival season. Do not miss this iconic representation of Australian life in the 80’s, filtered, of course, through medical room dividers, hospital beds and treatment plans.