THEATRE REVIEW: 1984

WORTH A LOOK?: ****

WHERE: Playhouse Theatre

WHEN: 17/6 runs to 29/10

Robert Icke won the 2016 best director Olivier for Oresteia and there’s much from that in this 2014 Almeida production which is back in the West End for another run.

  • Read on for the reasons why this George Orwell literary classic works on stage

Both had actor Angus Wright at their heart and here he plays sinister O’Brien who initially captures the imagination of our hero Winston Smith. Orwell’s book is so ingrained in our culture that its concepts of Big Brother, Room 101 and Newspeak will be familiar.

What writer and director Icke brings to proceedings are a number of theatrical flourishes including the 101-minute running time without interval. We also have numerous blackouts as the scenes shift in unexpected directions.

Andrew Gower makes for a sympathetic Winston and in a torture scene with the unsettling Wright towards the end the blackouts and plentiful use of stage blood make the audience squirm.

The use of video screens throughout the production sits well with the material and expands the action beyond the stage.

Icke, now associate director at the Almeida, turns his attentions next to Hamlet starring Andrew Scott and it’s a production we have very high hopes for.

  • Picture via Facebook courtesy 1984. Tickets here.
  • Enjoyed this review? Follow its author on Twitter @NeilDurham

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