For staff at the NHS, it has long been acknowledged they have their ‘work cut out’ with having to work very long hours, having next to no sleep and an inordinate amount of stress. These factors increase exponentially for junior doctors… Written by and starring Tania Amsel, Blood Orange focuses on Amy, a Grade 2 junior doctor working in Swansea shortly before Christmas.
Often working 12 hours night shifts in A&E, Amy’s at the beck and call of her pager, having to make life and death decisions in quick succession. There are, however, some positive developments in her life. The first is an impending interview at Great Ormond Street Hospital in London and the second is Trish, a colleague at hospital who she shares chemistry with.
Amy’s ‘love affair’ with London, however, began in childhood when she visited it with her parents and her twin sister Alice. But such rose-tinted memories don’t tell the whole truth and as the interview approaches, Amy is reminded about why she wanted to become a doctor in the first place…
As you would expect, details about what doctors have to encounter daily are expressed without shame or embellishment. It is, however, as a flawed but empathetic doctor that we warm to Amy and are interested in.
Intertwined with all the plot threads are Amy’s relationships, which are or have shaped her as a person. Alice, her twin sister, features prominently, as does her mother. However, while Amy’s mother isn’t thrilled about the medical profession (which when first mentioned seems of minor importance) it is actually the marrow of the show – how adverse circumstances can prompt opposite reactions in people. As for the fact that Amy’s from Swansea, her ‘Welshness’ not only adds some ‘regional colour’ to proceedings, but goes some way to explaning the novelty of London when she was younger (and Registrar Mike’s ‘ambivalence’ to ‘the Big Smoke’).
Asides from being a love letter to the NHS, what is self-evident in Blood Orange is how stressful and demanding on one’s mental health working in the caring professions is. Knowing how mentally and physically demanding it is in hospitals, any normal person would refrain from working in such an environment. But for anyone who has experienced the selfless dedication of medical professionals during their hour of need, devoting oneself to the same vocation is a way of paying such altruism forward.
© Michael Davis 2019
Blood Orange runs at the Old Red Lion Theatre (7pm start time) until 4th January 2020.
Tuesday 10th December 2019 – Saturday 4th January 2020
Tuesday – Saturday 7.00pm (except New Year’s Eve, Christmas Eve and Chistmas Day)
Saturday matinees 2.30pm
Sunday 22nd December matinee 2.30pm
Boxing Day matinee 2.30pm
New Year’s Eve matinee 2.30pm