Monday, February 21, 2005


On Saturday went with Rullsenberg to Sheffield to see Blue/Orange. An excellent three-hander about (what is it about, again?) madness, the NHS, 'normality, stereotyping, politics and the "arrogant assurance of professionalism" as the Grauniad put it in its review of the original production in 2000. The Sheffield production had three excellent performers in Roger Lloyd Pack, Shaun Evans and Jimmy Akingbola. There's a splendid review in the Indie.
In Kathy Burke's fleet production, Penhall's dialogue generates red-hot tension as the three characters tread through a minefield of arguments and issues: the underwhelming response of the National Health Service to those with mental health problems; doctors playing off professional ethics against career prospects; and the uncomfortable conflict between racial prejudice and acquired political correctness.

The thrust stage of the Sheffield Crucible lends itself well to this semantic competition as the three characters dodge around one another's verbal lobs. What takes place on the minimalist set, clinically grey apart from a bowl of Day-Glo oranges and a blue strip edging the stage, is far from drably monochrome. It's like watching a boxing match, only less blatantly bloody.
Roger Lloyd Pack is ... [p]retentious and careerist, he's perhaps most truly in character when, trying to provide a plausible reason for Christopher's apparent fruit-colour blindness, he misquotes Paul Eluard's poem "La terre est bleue comme une orange" with all the familiar authority of a man who thinks he knows everything.
Well worth going to see.

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