This excellent play (mainly) tells the story of Henrietta Lacks and explores ethical issues around the use and ownership of human body tissue.
The play by Penny Dreadful is based on the book The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot. Henrietta Lacks, an African American woman developed a tumour in the 1950’s. Her cells have been cultured in laboratories ever since, greatly contributing to scientific knowledge of cancer and many other diseases.
Her cells were taken and used without the knowledge or permission of either Henrietta or her family. Whilst pharmaceutical companies and others have profited greatly from their sale and use in developing highly profitable drugs, Henrietta’s descendants struggle under a burden of debt incurred for treatment for their own inherited medical conditions.
Claire Perkins (who plays Henrietta amongst other characters), and the rest of the cast give an amazing performance and the main story line is skillfully interwoven with others, bringing the ethical debate right up to date.
In yet another one of those stories that needs to be told, the play makes the science and ethics very accessible to we mere mortals. A must see!