Orphan, written by Russell Eccleston, directed by Gabrielle Finnegan, presented by Black Dog Productions at The Mission Theatre, Bath, Tuesday 24th April – Friday 27th at 7.30pm., unsuitable for children. Tickets 01225 463362, www.bathboxoffice.org.uk
As often, Bill had the words for it when he wrote, “Something wicked this way comes.” In this case it’s the Reverend; the unseen head of an orphanage where all those outside The Flock are the Unloved.
Not that there’s a whole lot of love going on inside for the orphans. An escapee named The Orphan (so bad they never gave him a real name) returns as an adult to the now empty home. The Reverend has gone and there’s just the simple caretaker left, who only, “Just obeyed orders.”
Russell Eccleston plays the damaged Orphan convincingly, as does Tommy Carmichael taking the caretaker part. Hints of Pinter there as he’s sometimes referred to as the care taker.
The Orphan has invited another former resident, Patience, along for a reunion. She was the orphanage favourite, untouched by the goings on conducted by the Reverend. She’s soon brought up to speed on what she missed. Tiffany Rhodes as Patience is the third utterly believable performer.
There have been enough tales of orphanages and children’s homes in recent years for this to be nothing surprising but it quickly develops into something much darker and violent. No pins were dropped throughout the performance I saw…I’d have heard them.
Premiering at The Mission, it’s likely that with a little tightening up this play will have legs. Well worth seeing if you dash down and catch the final performance.