Review by Phil Preece, LichfieldLive 30/04/12

If you love theatre and haven't yet found Birmingham's newest, The Blue Orange, then it's time you did. Set in the heart of the newly fashionable Jewellery Quarter, it's an inviting contemporary space with offerings for every taste.

Their current show, Love! Sex! Confusion! ticks all the boxes. It's a collection of short plays produced by acclaimed Birmingham writers' group Big Script, based on - you've guessed it - love and sex from youth to age in a series of sophisticated vignettes brought vividly to life by Graeme Braidwood's seamless direction.

The 15 short scripts evoke a wide range of locations in space and time. They're all beautifully honed for dramatic effect and while a fair number of them veer towards the comic it's without ever losing sight of some essential truths. Everyone will have their favourites among these wryly chosen shapshots but for me some special moments stood out.

A truly original creation is Robert Warrington's garralous girl-about-town (think glamour on the social) who never pauses for breath in her dizzying and nonsensical stream-of-consciousness monlogue, brought here to exquisite life by the astounding Emily Summers, who reminds me of a young (and newly Oscar nominated) Janet McTeer. One to watch.

Alan Wales chilled as the brutal Cranford-era cleric insisting on his conjugal rights in Liz John's beautifully judged Love, Honour and Obey, while Therese Collins and James Parsons each brought an affectingly light touch to Gerald Kell's tale of the wife swappers who would really prefer a nice cup of tea and a chat. Truly memorable.

Finally I must mention the subtly powerful performance of Marilii Saar in Nigel Pocknell's I Never Loved You, whose wronged servant girl Bessie tells a chilling tale with a surprising twist.

I'm told actors and director only had two weeks to pull this show together, but if so it's merely a tribute to the intelligence and sheer professionalism of all concerned. More please. More! More! More!

Alan Wales in 'Love, Honour and Obey'

Emily Summers in 'Underground Attraction'

                                  James Parsons in 'Paradise Lost'

Marilii Saar in 'I Never Wanted You'

                                      Ciaran Duce in 'Post-Mortem'

                                  Therese Collins in 'Second Date'

'Underground Attraction' 'Next Door'

 

  'Much Ado'

                                                                      'Bad Date'

 

Photographs courtesy of Graeme Braidwood