Star rating: ****
Banshee Labyrinth (Venue 156)
Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2015
Performances 13:40pm (60 mins) Daily 7th – 30th August 2015
£Free: Pay what you think the play is worth. Further details
Review date: Thursday 13th August 2015
A care worker, a confession, a crime? Is it that she can’t, or won’t care? You decide. Based on true stories, this 2014 Best Spoken Word Show (PBH) winner from BBC Slam Champion Sophia Walker returns from national touring. “achingly, emotionally, superbly written and performed” – Sabotage Reviews
“Care standards. The name is a joke. Care is not standard.”
This was one of the stand out quotes from ‘Can’t Care, Won’t Care’ and really summed up the dilemma faced by Sophia Walker, Poet and Actor, in her one woman play.
She has a number of roles in this drama that features a mock court case where she is on trial for her actions as a Care Worker towards a vulnerable old adult. She has gone beyond her remit and what the rules say in order to care for her client. This has tragic consequences for the client and her. The dilemma before us is between doing the “right thing by the client” versus slavishly following the rules. To care or not to care that is the question.
She quotes numerous rules and regulations throughout the play, letting the audience know in no uncertain terms that these are the pressures and rules underpinning the working lives of Care Workers , social workers, managers and other caring professionals. Her client fell and fatally hurt himself. She finds herself on trial as if she pushed him. What is borne out in the trial is the pressure she was under and the full circumstances surrounding the case and all she had to contend with as a Care Worker, lacking resources and support to carry out basic care.
It’s a interesting and fascinating production that holds the attention throughout. Sophia acts so well that it feels very real. You feel her pain. You become concerned for her. Care Workers are under so much pressure. Cut backs can mean that they are doing solo visits that were formerly two person visits of necessity, not whim, yet still the workload remains the same.
What are they supposed to do? Do they blindly follow the rules, even though they may be detrimental to the person they are supposed to be caring for? Or should they do what they personally consider best for the client, or service user as they are now called? After all they get to know the person far better than many others as they spend up to one hour a day with them, every day.
She also highlighted that the better qualified you are and crucially that the higher up you go in the profession/vocation, the greater the career risk you face. If you become associated with anything slightly dodgy, in practice, it reflects on you and can lead to you losing your registration and a 10 year ban from practising. This could be a client that you have nothing to do with, but could be a colleague in your team. Some would sooner quit than risk that happening. The problem with that is that this is an industry that can ill afford to lose its most capable practitioners. “It’s not right,” she exclaims.
Can’t Care, Won’t Care is a good, thought provoking, serious examination of the state of the adult care sector.
Review © Tiemo Talk of the Town
If you saw the play or have experience of the adult care sector I would welcome your thoughts.
- Can’t Care, Won’t Care – Excellent Review by Phoebe Walker, 10th August 2014
- Care Quality Commission – service providers and managers regulations
- Adult Care Homes Sector – Government review
- Mel Moon – Sick Girl – 10th August 2015
- A Crisis of Compassion: Who cares? – Battle of Ideas 2012 debate – 27th October 2012