Theatre Review: Blue/Orange @ Birmingham Rep
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Blue/Orange was written in 2000 by Joe Penhall, with its original blurb describing it as "an incendiary tale of race, madness and a Darwinian power struggle at the heart of a dying National Health Service". This remains true in the Birmingham Rep's production, though it loses steam in the second half after a dynamic opening.
Image courtesy of the Birmingham Repertory TheatreWe begin in media res, in a nevertheless exposition-heavy scene. We are informed of the status quo through Bruce (Thomas Coombes) questioning Christopher (Ivan Oyik) as to why he thinks he's been sectioned, a tool that is initially humourous but becomes far more sinister as the play goes on. The plot doesn't deviate too far from this opener - many more discussions occur, between two or all three of the actors, revolving around Christopher's care and their methods. The twist in this tale comes when Christopher is coerced into placing a complaint against Bruce by his boss Robert (Richard Lintern) - the scene in which this coersion occurs is one of the best of the piece. Naturalistic dialogue is displaced by flashing lights and Oyik pulling tortured facial expressions, which I would've liked to have seen more of throughout, as it helped to create a tense atmosphere in a play which elsewhere relied solely upon the interplay between characters for the same effect.
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