5 October 2012

Yours for the Asking at the Orange Tree

The 2012-13 season at the Orange Tree opened with a corker.

Yours of the Asking played to all of the Orange Tree's considerable strengths. It's a play that almost nobody has heard of from an equally obscure playwright, the acting is good and the direction make the most of the layout of the unique theatre.

It tells the story of a cynical journalist struggling to survive in Fascist Spain whose life is changed when he gets the opportunity to interview a young beauty (a sort of Diana Dors figure played brilliantly by Mia Austen) who's star has fallen rapidly when a product she advertised is linked to the death of some children.

The story tells us how that meeting came about, what transpired there and what the dark consequences were.

In some ways it is a simple story but the way it is told makes it special.

The scenes change quickly and are not chronological.

A further complication is that some of the scenes are played concurrently in the simple set that our imagination convinces us is a newspaper office, a living room, a study, a bedroom, another office and probably a few other places that I have forgotten about.

The final complication is that Orange Tree regular David Antrobus plays several support roles. That works well too.

The story weaves in direction as well as in time and there are a few surprises along the way. The mood changes too with periods of tension, despair, love and laughs. It's engaging, engrossing and enthralling.

Yours for the Asking was a wonderful production that demonstrated the Orange Tree at its very best.

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