Blood Orange presented by Tania Amsel
What is it? Blood Orange is a one woman love letter to the NHS.
What is it all about?
It’s Christmas day in the NHS and Amy has a big London interview. Blood Orange is a singular look into the life of a Junior Doctor dealing with family tensions, a strained healthcare system and some haunting memories from her past.
How did it make me feel?
Tania Amsel is engaging and sympathetic throughout. She switches effortlessly between the various characters in the play, most notably the mother who is played with a frustrating humour we can all recognise. The minimal set is extremely effective, moving us from room to room with just the slide of some metal frames. I only wish this was supported by a more innovative lighting design from Jamie Platt which fell short compared to the set and medical-drama-meets-Royal-Court sound design by sound designer Tingying Dong.
What lets this play down is that it doesn't seem to give itself anywhere to go. A play set against the backdrop of an NHS hospital in Swansea promises big things but the bottomless pit of material is only mined for some light-hearted and weak jokes. Amy’s story itself also felt like a let down. The script, also written by performer Tania Amsel, is trying desperately to tug on our heart strings but the central plot point becomes apparent very early on and then is drip fed to us with a frustrating lack of urgency. However what can be said, without spoiling the end, is that it is nice to be treated to a sort-of happy ending in a theatrical climate that seems to rely so heavily on death, despair and shakespearean tragedy style finishes.
All in all, Blood Orange is performed well with impressive set and sound, but is a vanilla look at the NHS that doesn’t have quite strong enough of a personal story to back it up.
Blood Orange is playing at The Old Red Lion until the 4th January 2020.
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