Tag Archives: Nathan Ellis

Super High Resolution

Super High Resolution


Soho Theatre




Super High Resolution

“Ellis’ text is for the most part honest and sensitive in its portrayal, highlighting the importance of seeking help”


Nathan Ellis’ new play, Super High Resolution, which follows a junior A&E doctor as she struggles to cope with the daily stressors in her professional and personal life, finds its strength in a biting wit and well-timed comedic moments. Jasmine Blackborow portrays Anna, the play’s central figure, with sharpness and dexterity. Anna is worn thin by her sister (Leah Whitaker), her demanding boss (Catherine Cusack), and a difficult patient (Hayley Carmichael), in scenes that are equal parts pacey and tense. Director Blanche McIntyre gives these scenes space to breathe, allowing humour to seep into the play’s pervasive darkness and unease.

Andrew D Edwards’ set, in conjunction with Prema Mehta’s lighting design, creates a cold and impersonal environment. In the opening stage picture, harsh neon light washes over accordions of hospital curtains, lending the impression of metal shipping containers. The stagecraft feels appropriate in light of the continual gutting of the NHS.

It is a shame then, that to me, it feels Super High Resolution misses the mark in its handling of themes of suicide and self-harm.

I want to be clear that the production got a lot of things right. Its content warnings were detailed and clear, and the resources it lists on the play’s promotional material, both for mental health services and NHS workers, are extensive (these are shown at the end of this review). Super High Resolution does not seek to romanticise suicide either, and Ellis’ text is for the most part honest and sensitive in its portrayal, highlighting the importance of seeking help. The production, however, loses sight of this sensitivity and falls out of step with Samaritans’ guidelines in its depiction of a suicide attempt onstage. Not only is the method clearly portrayed, but the scene is noticeably drawn out, and its accompanying lighting and sound design make clear that it is intended to be the play’s climax.

In my opinion, this framing crosses a line. The play would have, in all likelihood, maintained its emotional impact without an onstage depiction, or a climactic attempt altogether. In addition, the theme of suicide (and descriptions/depictions therein) seems to be buttressing a play about the gutting of the NHS and the toll it has taken on medical professionals, not the other way around.

There is obviously a spectrum of opinions on how suicide should be handled in the medium of live performance, and Super High Resolution is far from the worst offender. It is clear that Ellis, McIntyre and the rest of the production team care about the issue, and that the play does not solely seek to cash in on shock value. But the play could have, and should have, approached the issue with more caution and sensitivity.



Reviewed on 2nd November 2022

by JC Kerr

Photography by Helen Murray



Previously reviewed at this venue:


An Evening Without Kate Bush | ★★★★ | February 2022
Y’Mam | ★★★★ | May 2022
Hungry | ★★★★★ | July 2022
Oh Mother | ★★★★ | July 2022


If SUPER HIGH RESOLUTION has affected you, the following resources are available; we encourage you to make use of them.

Clicking each logo will take you to the relevant website


You can contact Samaritans 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. You can call 116 123 (free from any phone), email [email protected] or visit some branches in person.


If you’re experiencing a mental health problem or supporting someone else, you can call SANEline on 0300 304 7000 (4.30pm–10.30pm every day)


Offers a supportive listening service to anyone with thoughts of suicide. You can call the National Suicide Prevention Helpline UK on 0800 689 5652 (open 24/7)


You can call the CALM on 0800 58 58 58 (5pm–midnight every day) if you are struggling and need to talk. Or if you prefer not to speak on the phone, you could try the CALM webchat service.


If you would prefer not to talk but want some mental health support, you could text SHOUT to 85258. Shout offers a confidential 24/7 text service providing support if you are in crisis and need immediate help.


If you’re under 35 and struggling with suicidal feelings, or concerned about a young person who might be struggling, you can call Papyrus HOPELINEUK on 0800 068 4141 (weekdays 10am-10pm, weekends 2pm-10pm and bank holidays 2pm–10pm), email [email protected] or text 07786 209 697.



For NHS workers

Wellbeing support by text for health and social care staff

All NHS staff can access free support by text 24/7. Text FRONTLINE to 85258 to talk by text with a trained volunteer.

Wellbeing support by telephone for health and social care staff

NHS staff in England can call 0800 069 6222 and NHS staff in Wales can call 0800 484 0555, daily from 7am–11pm.

Counselling and trauma phone helpline

Call 0300 303 4434, free and in confidence, 8am to 8pm 7 days a week.


Practitioner Health have teamed up with SHOUT to create a confidential 24/7 text service for PH patients. If you need support after hours you can Text NHSPH to 85258.

Practitioner Health is a free, confidential NHS primary care mental health and addiction service with expertise in treating health & care professionals.










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No One is Coming to Save You – 4 Stars


No One is Coming to Save You

The Bunker

Reviewed – 15th June 2018


“In excellent debut performances, Agatha Elwes and Rudolphe Mdlongwa portray two different personalities journeying through recent and childhood memories”


Produced by ‘This Noise’, a new, young theatre company, ‘No One Is Coming to Save You’ is one of six projects chosen as part of The Bunker’s ‘Breaking Out’ festival of world premiere shows. An original and provocative ‘duologue’ written by Nathan Ellis takes us into the minds of a young woman and a young father, both unable to sleep one night. In excellent debut performances, Agatha Elwes and Rudolphe Mdlongwa portray two different personalities journeying through recent and childhood memories, trying to make sense of life. The young woman overcomes boredom and loneliness by allowing her imagination to carry her away in vivid visions. The young man pulls himself towards his role as a father by searching for his own past feelings. Fluid in narrative and movement, their separate stories wind around each other on stage, illustrating the angst of young people with the prospect of their whole lives ahead of them in a world which appears to be steadily declining, something relevant to every new generation as they question their existence, purpose, responsibility and happiness.

The pictorial, uncluttered set design by Khadija Raza and Alice Simonato concentrates the action primarily in a small, central area, focusing our attention on the words, but allowing for some more expansive movement. The half full glasses of water and muted television, from the characters’ first description, are the only decorative features. Jessica Hung Han Yun’s lighting flows beautifully from evening to night to morning, though occasionally leaving the actors in darkness when they move away from centre stage. The sound design by Callum Wyles is of superb quality and clarity. A few odd moments of integrated movement (Lanre Malaolu) could work better with more consistency throughout, but the production is generally figurative enough without.

More than a sense of waiting, as described in the play’s publicity, director, Charlotte Fraser, creates an atmosphere of reflection and exploration. And more than two individuals living in social, political and economic fear (both have jobs and homes), Nathan Ellis’ writing comes across as an expression of personal conflict. ‘No One Is Coming to Save You’ is an entrancing show – confident, sensitive acting and direction, and creative set, lighting and sound. However, varied information about the intentions of the project are confusing; it conveys a mindscape rather than sends a message, but is engaging and stimulating for the audience.


Reviewed by Joanna Hetherington



No One is Coming to Save You

The Bunker until 7th July


Previously reviewed at this venue
Electra | ★★★★ | March 2018
Devil With the Blue Dress | ★★ | April 2018
Conquest | ★★★★ | May 2018


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