“Oh my God, this is the set!”
“Eurgh, it stinks of bleach.”
“Look at the whiteboard, this must be where they do the psychiatric meetings.”
Walking beneath the Young Vic stage, through the consultancy room, there were oranges all over the floor, the ash tray was full of cigarettes and the whiteboard was covered in various ‘feelings’. Not only did the stench of disinfectant take us back to the last time we were sat in an NHS waiting room, but I was also glad not to have been part of whatever meeting it was that had taken place. Alice and I were loving Blue/Orange before it had even started.
It had been 28 days and Christopher’s (Daniel Kaluuya) time was up. He was ready to leave. Or were they ready for him to leave? Bruce (Luke Norris), his Junior Doctor, is convinced that Christopher is more than just on the verge of a border line personality disorder and needs further care, but Robert (Dabid Haig) the Senior Consultant is keen to get Chris back into the norms of society. Plus, sectioning him would only cost the tax payers money.
Matthew Xia directs this realistic performance exploring political and racial themes with a deep insight to mental illnesses in the public sector: the lack of funding, bed space and even the opposing views of some health professionals. The audience shifts to and fro between who or what is actually effecting Christopher, and what his doctors really want for him, and of course, for themselves. The heat between Bruce and Robert rises rapidly as power and hierarchy play their role. Weaknesses widen the cracks when the pressures comes down and Christopher barely gets a word in edge ways.
The problem is that Christopher still thinks oranges are blue and that his dad is Idi Amin. So is he really ready to go back to his estate in Shepherds Bush, and will it really be ok just because ‘his people’ are there? What does ‘his people’ even mean when living in 21st Century London, one of the most multi-cultural cities in the world? I mean, what would you recommend? Immersion in society or isolated support from the system?
Until 2 July