Writer: Anthony Burgess
Director: Julia Thomas
Reviewer: David Robinson
The Curve is partnering with the performing arts students from De Montfort University on this immersive and brave adaptation of the Anthony Burgess dystopian classic. The novel sits proudly on the Time magazine’s top hundred books in the English language, a novel Burgess admitted to writing in a matter of a few days in part English and in part Russian. It is his witty comment on the youth of the early sixties. A dark tale of control, of discipline, of order and of mayhem.
This promenade performance complete with headsets is audibly and visually tailored towards today’s youth and particularly to those who resist conformity. The menacing soundtrack designed cannily by Tom Preston and a clever lighting design by Nick Bache are both sympathetic aids to Julia Thomas’ production. Thomas is an evident talent and uses her emerging skills to coordinate a significantly large cast to every corner of the Curve studio, with the audience close behind, shuffling for the best vantage point and keen to be participants in the action.
This is very much an ensemble piece, with a palpable sense of team work, the physical moments are slick and the fight and movement incidents are convincing and real. The laudable achievement by the ensemble leads to an understandable difficulty when it comes to individual accomplishments. That being said the portrayal of Alex by Chris Roberts demands to be noticed, he tackles the troubled chief advocate for change with a crafted mix of innocence and disconcertion. Liam Cotterill brings a touch of lightness and authenticity to the Chaplain and generates a pleasing singing voice.
The decision to shape this into one act is understandable for a promenade performance, but consequently it hotfoots rather quickly and fails to build menace and fear as much as it might. Those limitations are on the whole overcome courtesy of the tight work by the chorus and the surfacing and commendable talents of Thomas and her plucky directing.
Runs until 20 May 2017