Arachne

By Arachne

Disappearing in a puff of smoke

When Joe Penhall's Blue/Orange - exploring mental illness, race/racism, the NHS and power, all issues close to my heart - was first performed 21 years ago I was sad not to be able to get to see it.

This evening I did. It has the quality actors you'd expect from a Royal & Derngate Northampton, Theatre Royal Bath, and Oxford Playhouse co-production, it received rapturous applause and the reviews I read when I got home were all enthusiastic. But my polite applause was for the acting not the play and I came out very disappointed. Even allowing for dramatic licence, the script is contrived and rhetorical. I don't believe that doctors would ever have the melodramatic exchanges they had and certainly not in front of a patient. I understand the interesting decision to cast a black actor as the arrogant previously-white consultant, which added extra nuance to the power struggles of the original and meant (unintentionally, I'm sure) that he and the younger (white) doctor alternated being straw men. But even for the sake of the points that Penhall wanted to make I couldn't suspend my disappointed disbelief.

If you've seen it, please tell me what I've missed.


As an extra, a picture my subconscious took earlier today.

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