Adam Kay – This is Going to Hurt at The Lowry Manchester Review

7-28 January 2019


Reviewed by Kathryn Harrison

Recently a friend recommended a book by Adam Kay called This is Going to Hurt: Secret Diaries of a Junior Doctor. When I started the book I couldn’t put it down and read the whole thing in just two days, it was moving, poignant and absolutely hilarious. Through the entries in Adam’s training portfolio, the reader learns about his experiences as a junior doctor and the reason why he ultimately left the medical profession. When I discovered that Adam Kay would be appearing at The Lowry in Salford to share entries, I was eager to go and interested to see how the stories would translate to the stage.

When I attended The Lowry on the 7th January, with my friend who had originally recommended the book, the auditorium was packed. Clearly this was a sellout show. My first thought when Adam appeared on stage was “Oh that isn’t how I pictured him.” Like any book you create a certain image of the characters, without realising it, in my imagination Dr Adam Kay had merged into the doctor at my local surgery! During the show Adam read entries from his diaries alongside performing comedy songs about medical issues. I wouldn’t recommend you go to see this show if you are easily offended, as Adam’s speciality was obstetrics and gynaecology a lot of his stories can be quite graphic and whilst the songs were hysterical they often poked fun at some serious medical conditions.

Overall this was a good show and if I hadn’t have read the book I would have thought it was brilliant and would most certainly have been laughing constantly however it was disappointing that “sharing entries from his diaries” means reading verbatim from the book. Even a lot of the jokes that I’m sure we’re intended to appear off the cuff were word for word taken from the book. This gave the whole performance an over-rehearsed feel and took the impact and comedy out of many of the stories as you already knew the punchline. Despite not knowing what to expect from the stage show I had thought it would perhaps expand on what I had already read. The only time I did feel like we, as an audience, gained a further insight than what was written in the book was when Adam was discussing his departure from medicine and his passion for the NHS and every one who works within it.

If you haven’t read the book I highly recommend you go see this show and you will be thoroughly entertained however if you have read it I suggest you lower your expectations slightly and be prepared to listen to stories you have already heard and enjoy some very funny songs.

Rating: 4/5

Tickets cost from £22 (booking fees may apply).

Adam Kay – This is Going to Hurt is at The Lowry in Manchester from 7 to 28 January 2019, for more information or to book tickets visit or call the box office on 0843 208 6000.

The Lowry, Pier 8, Salford Quays, Manchester, M50 3AZ | 0843 208 6000

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