1984: War Is Peace, Freedom Is Slavery, Ignorance Is Strength
Headlong’s highly acclaimed adaptation of George Orwell’s dystopian classic 1984 has returned to theatres with a fresh coat of paint from Olivier Award-winning director Robert Icke and Olivier Award-nominee Duncan Macmillan.
Cold. Terrifying. Stark. This show was a tremendous theatrical performance that left me feeling quite frankly, a little shaky.
The show can be rather uncomfortable to sit through at points, but this only adds to the real grittiness of this chilling dystopian. The flashing lights and loud pangs of alarming noises definitely involved the audience emotionally and physically in the performance. At one point the subtly menacing O’Brien broke the fourth wall and asked Winston to speak to us. The lights were raised and it was a genuinely emotive experience. The extremely loud blaring noises and flashing lights did, however, mean I left the theatre a little bit out of it, but in comparison to what the play’s protagonist Winston went through – I’ll take it.
One of the most enjoyable and fantastic features of this performance was the use of a large screen across the stage. This screen relayed Winston’s innermost private moments in a disturbing Big Brother-style hidden camera setup. The audience are voyeurs to Winston’s love affair with Julia, he rejoices in his hidden room that they’re alone and they are finally not being watched.The audience looks on wondering which role do we play? Are we viewers or are we a part of Big Brother, too? Despite being onlookers, we are all entirely involved in this dystopian society living the nightmare alongside Winston. It’s a genius addition to the play and definitely made the whole performance a much more personal experience.
Quick warning to those who are a little sensitive – the play gets very graphic towards the end. If you’ve already read the novel then I’m sure you’re aware of this, but just in case… you have been warned.
Despite the scenes of violence and the overall uncomfortable tone to the performance, I very much enjoyed this play. Can I call Doublethink? Maybe not.
The production is intense, it evokes emotion and is overall an impressive theatrical experience for the audience. Definitely one of the must-see shows in London, so make sure you grab your tickets it ends it’s run on 29 October 2016.
And remember… Big Brother is always watching you.
You could grab some great seats in a variety of theatre performances for just £16. Check PROMPT between 12-3pm to scout some seriously good deals on that day’s shows.