Winner of the Olivier Award for Best New Play and The Evening Standard Best Play of the Year Joe Penhall’s blue/orange is appearing at York Theatre Royal. This stinging satire touches on race, mental illness and 21st century British life. It runs in The Studio from Thu 26 Apr – Sat 19 May.
In a London psychiatric hospital, an enigmatic patient claims to be the illegitimate son of an exiled African dictator. As the drama unfolds, his story becomes unnervingly plausible. blue/orange is an incendiary tale of race, madness and power struggle at the heart of a failing NHS.
Penhall’s examination of mental illness through 24 year-old Christopher’s story is darkly comic and provocative. blue/orange is brought to life under the direction of York Theatre Royal Associate Director Juliet Forster (The Crucible, Twelfth Night) on an aptly-designed set. In the intimacy of The Studio, you can almost see the cogs turning in the minds of the characters as the space lends itself to viewing the changing emotions on their faces up close.
The production is a three-hander with actors Michael Beckley as psychiatrist ‘Robert’, Jonathan Race as trainee doctor ‘Bruce’ and Lekan Lawal taking the part of ‘Christopher’, the patient. Jonathan Race may be familiar to regular York theatre-goers for his resdiency in York Theatre Royal’s ensemble season as well as previously appearing in The Railway Children and Wind in the Willows. Australian Michael Beckley played Rhys Sutherland in Australian soap Home and Away for four year and has been living in the UK since 2005 most recently appearing in One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest and Buried Child at the Curve Theatre, Leicester. Lekan Lawal has recently appeared in Sum Zero at the Lyric Hammersmith and the Faction Theatre Company production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream.