Blue/Orange is a play written by English dramatist, Joe Penhall. The play is a sardonically comic piece which touches on race, mental illness and 21st-century British life.

Blue Orange (Penhall play - book cover).jpg
Written byJoe Penhall
Date premieredApril 2000
Place premieredCottesloe Theatre
Original languageEnglish
Settinga London psychiatric hospital


The play premiered in the Cottesloe Theatre at the Royal National Theatre, London beginning previews from 7 April 2000 with an opening night on 13 April, where it ran in repertory until 23 August, starring Bill Nighy as Robert, Andrew Lincoln as Bruce and Chiwetel Ejiofor as Christoper. The production was directed by Roger Michell, designed by William Dudley, lighting by Rick Fisher and sound by Neil Alexander.

The production transferred to the Duchess Theatre (re-configuring the stalls for an in-the-round setting) in London's West End beginning previews on 24 April 2001, with an opening night on 30 April with Nighy, Lincoln and Ejiofor reprising their roles until 18 August. From 20 August, the second cast featured Shaun Parkes as Christopher, Neil Stuke as Bruce and David Threlfall as Robert until the production closed on 15 December 2001.[1]

In 2007, an audio production of the play was released starring Daniel Davis, Teagle F. Bougere and Matt Letscher.

In 2008, Plain Clothes Theatre Productions toured the show around the South-West. Venues included the Tobacco Factory, Bristol; and Cheltenham Everyman and the Rondo Theatre, Bath.

In 2012 Brighton Theatre Royal Productions ran a production starring Robert Bathurst, Gerard McCarthy and Oliver Wilson.[2]

A 2016 revival at the Young Vic directed by Matthew Xia starred David Haig as Robert, Daniel Kaluuya as Christopher and Luke Norris as Bruce.[3]

A 2019 production at the Birmingham Repertory Theatre directed by Daniel Bailey starred Thomas Coombes as Bruce, Richard Lintern as Robert and Ivan Oyik as Christopher. [4]


Blurb of the published edition:

In a London psychiatric hospital, an enigmatic patient claims to be the son of an African dictator - a story that becomes unnervingly plausible. BLUE/ORANGE is an incendiary tale of race, madness and a Darwinian power struggle at the heart of a dying National Health Service.

Film adaptionEdit

In 2005, the play was adapted for a television film directed by Howard Davies for BBC with stars, Brian Cox, John Simm and Shaun Parkes.

Awards and nominationsEdit



  1. ^ "Blue / Orange by Joe Penhall on stage in London - theatre information and tickets". Retrieved 2020-05-30.
  2. ^ Norman, Neil (September 21, 2012). "Theatre review: Blue/Orange, Theatre Royal, Brighton". Daily Express. Daily Express.
  3. ^ "Blue/Orange". Time Out London. Retrieved 2016-05-19.
  4. ^ "Full Cast Announced For Joe Penhall's Blue/Orange". Retrieved 2019-02-15.


Further readingEdit

  • Penhall, Joe (2000). Blue/Orange (First ed.). London: Methuen Drama. ISBN 0-413-75270-4.

External linksEdit