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Order, Lantern Theatre

SHEFFIELD’S oldest theatre pours an explosive cocktail of obsession and rejection in its first professional production to indelible effect.

Penned by venue revivialists Martin Derbyshire and Matt Risby, Order is a raw, very human examination of what can happen when lines are crossed between friendship and love - and one party tragically refuses to register reality.

Order has grown from a 15-minute dialogue piece into a compelling 75-minute two-hander brought to life by Samantha Robinson as spirited office new arrival Katie and Sheffield actor Richard Marriott, long-married dad Robert who mistakenly spies romantic opportunity before his 40th birthday.

Jumping to different points in a year of their relationship, Order flows and explodes thanks to a vibrant but taut script that fautlessly shifts gears between verbal tag match and sinister emotional high-wire.

And director Ruth Carney (former Sheffield Theatres associate, now a success with Ghost in the West End) gives Order a stark setting; 10 darkened filing cabinets, cleverly concealing props, lurk like silent witnesses to the psychological brutality evolving nearby.

The focus is on the dialogue, however, as the characters analyse the consequences of what has happened and its catalyst: ultimately the Semtex of an ill-placed kiss on a disillusioned mind.

Order is a vital, stunning piece of new writing and the Lantern a tailor-made setting. That said, something that tattoos itself onto your brain as this does should be seen far and wide. Concludes Saturday.

David Dunn