"It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen"
1984, George Orwell
On the very first sentence of Orwell’s dystopian and satirical masterpiece we recognise that this is a world very much unlike our own. But as we carry on and the world awakens in front of our eyes, the truth in its reflection of us is startling and deeply unsettling. We’re not quite there yet and the novel has planted the warning signs for us to recognise. Though it appears that someone in North Korea got their hands on a copy and thought, "I think I can make this fly".
There have been many productions of 1984 in the past and most of them have been fairly strong, if slightly samey, in their approach to Orwell’s vision. The hard hitting conclusion never fails to leave a mark and its relevance is as clear today as it has ever been.
A secret rebel, Winston yearns for liberty. In a world where unorthodoxy is suppressed by the Thought Police, hope of a free society is all but dead. When he falls in love with an earthy Julia, Winston’s sense of optimism is briefly reignited. But he soon discovers a nightmare world of terror and the horrific price of the freedom that he so desperately craves.
If there is a difference of note to make between this production and any other I have seen, it is that this one glows with life in the face of spiritual death. The multimedia projections, the live music and the pounding physicality of the show brings an electricity and a force that had been missing in previous experiences. You might think that this could kill the tone of the story, but it does nothing of the sort and, in fact, probably enhances the ever important human elements of the tale.
The performances are all fantastic and, despite its 90 minutes runtime, it never outstays its welcome. A fine production of a 20th Century classic and definitely worth a look.
Show times: 25-27 Aug, 6.40pm
Tickets: £8.00 (£5.00)