Each His Own Wilderness by Doris Lessing, Orange Tree Theatre, 18 April 2015

This one didn’t really do the business for us.

We found the bohemian older generation a bit too bohemian and the surprisingly conservative younger generation irritatingly conservative.

Perhaps it all meant more in the late 1950s, but it certainly didn’t pack a punch in the way that its contemporaries (Wesker, Delaney, Osborne and the like) did.

Good cast, well directed…here’s a link to the Orange Tree resource on the play/production…including some review quotes indicating that some reviewers really liked it…

…but others didn’t:

You get the idea. I think we might have escaped early and cut our losses at half time on this one. Janie might remember for sure but I have no recollection at all about the ending and do recall not caring.

Spanish food at Don Fernando rounded off the evening nicely nonetheless.

 

Play Mas by Mustapha Matura, Orange Tree Theatre, 21 March 2015

Fascinating play, this, about Trinidad in the early post-independence days. It weaves in the tense racial politics of that time and place; an element of sexual politics too I suppose. Quite shocking as the potential horror of this type of power politics plays out, through mock violence to the inevitable ultra-violence.

The play was written back in the 1970’s, but seemed very modern still. Indeed, writing nearly two years later (January 2017) thinking again about the power and politics material from this play rings those alarm bells in my head even louder than they are currently ringing without help.

Not an easy play but very well produced, directed and acted at the Orange Tree. Janie and I were really taken with this one; a further sign that the new Paul Miller regime was prepared to do innovative and varied work.

Good Orange Tree resources on-line, sparing me a lot of effort – click here.

It got universally good reviews, which it deserved, so the comments shown on-line pretty much sum it up and you could doubtless track down some full reviews from those leads if you wish.

Janie and I enjoyed some Spanish food at Don Fernando after theatre, as is our Orange Tree habit, making the whole evening a great success.

 

 

Little Light by Alice Birch, Orange Tree Theatre, 7 February 2015

Janie and I were on a bit of a roll at that time, as was The Orange Tree.

Little Light by Alice Birch – click here for the Orange Tree resource on that production – was really good.

In some ways this was yet another family drama, but it was very well written and performed. It kept us awake and interested throughout.

Plenty of one-liner reviews in the Orange Tree link above:

 

It Just Stopped by Stephen Sewell, Orange Tree Theatre, 22 February 2014

A curates egg of a play, this. Good in parts. Irritating in others. It is set in an apartment block in which a pair of Manhatten sophisticates are thrown together with a vulgar pair of Melbournites when their tower apartment block has a total blackout.

Here is the Orange Tree resource on the play – sadly lacking the cast and creatives (but they are nevertheless tagged in this Ogblog piece).

Here is a link to a search term that finds other resources on this play/production.

Below is a Vimeo of the cast talking about the play:

I recall we enjoyed the first half of this one more than the second half. Still, we were glad to have seen it and went to Don Fernando for some Spanish grub afterwards.

Reading Hebron by Jason Sherman, Orange Tree Theatre, 5 March 2011

I wanted to enjoy this play more than I did. It was written soon after the Baruch Goldstein atrocity in Hebron in the mid 1990s.

Here is a link to the Orange Tree resource on the play & production.

It was an excellent production and a fast moving play to be sure. David Antrobus, once of the Orange Tree regulars, was excellent as the central character Nathan.

But while the play was interesting throughout and covered many pertinent issues, it didn’t quite work for me; nor for Janie. The play is primarily about a young Canadian’s sense of collective guilt for the atrocity; for my part, I found hard to buy into the collective guilt idea.

Somewhat mixed, but most of the reviews are very good for this production – the search term linked here will find them for you.

Did we have a Spanish meal at Don Fernando’s after seeing this play? You bet.

The Company Man by Torben Betts, Orange Tree Theatre, 9 October 2010

I don’t remember a great deal about this one.

Here is the Orange Tree stub on the play/production.

I think it might have been a bit much for us at that time, with Phillie so poorly by then, so perhaps we didn’t even stick it out to the second half.

This search term suggests that the few reviews it got were quite good ones.

The Promise by Ben Brown, Orange Tree Theatre, 27 February 2010

I don’t think this one really floated our boat. We liked the idea of it but it had a rather laboured feel as a piece of drama.

We were not having a good run at the theatre in the first part of 2010 and this one was part of that poor run for us.

Here is a link to the Orange Tree resource on the production.

I remember guessing at the time that Michael Billington would like it; he did – click here.

This search term – click here – will find you the other main reviews, most of which were luke warm.

We went for our traditional dinner at Don Fernando afterwards; I have a feeling we even skived the second half of this one.

Sing To Me Through Open Windows by Arthur Kopit & The Private Ear by Peter Shaffer, Orange Tree Theatre, 13 June 2009

In the midst of all those ICC World T20 cricket double bills (two visits to Lord’s that week and another visit the next day lined up)…

…ironically, a double header at The Orange Tree.

Here is a link to the Orange Tree stub for the two productions.

I was familiar with the Shaffer, having read it (I think I might also have seen a TV film version of it), but I was not at all familiar with the Kopit.

Frankly, I could have done without the Kopit. It all felt so obscure I’m not sure I can even describe it to you. Beckett with even less action?

Had it been up to Daisy and/or had I not been familiar with the Shaffer, we might have left at half time and taken our Spanish meal at Don Fernando early. But I really wanted to see the Shaffer and we both agreed afterwards that the Shaffer had been well worth the wait.

I can’t find reviews by the usual suspects for this double bill. Perhaps Michael Billington was spending too much time at Lord’s and not enough time at the theatre that week. Or perhaps my web searching isn’t up to it for double bills.

Factors Unforeseen by Michel Vinaver, Orange Tree Theatre, 16 May 2009

This is one of those rare plays about the workplace; in this case a suntan lotion business. The impecunious Orange Tree is one of the few theatres with solid production stubs going back as far as 2009 – click here for all the details on this one.

As is often the case with workplace plays, this one didn’t quite work for us. The stage was incredibly busy – a huge cast for the tiny Orange Tree. The humour didn’t quite translate/make the grade either.

Still, it was well acted and did provide some interesting points for us to discuss over a Don Fernando Spanish meal afterwards.

 

Greenwash by David Lewis, Orange Tree Theatre, 21 February 2009

We rather liked this one, although more form the point of view of it being a well acted interesting piece on an interesting subject than it being great drama or great comedy.

You can read all about it on the Orange Tree site – here.

Janie and I describe silly or farcical comedies as being “a bit Vincent Golightly” (don’t ask, long/fictional story) and this was a bit Vincent for sure. But we enjoyed our evening in the theatre and topped it off with some Spanish food at Don Fernando, as is our Richmond habit most times.