Writer: Anthony Burgess
Director: Alexandra Spencer-Jones
Reviewer: Deborah Klayman
The Public Reviews Rating:
Returning to Edinburgh after its 2011 season, Alexandra Spencer-Jones’ all-male production of A Clockwork Orange is a definite must see. Always a popular production, perhaps due to the notoriety of both the original novel and the controversial film, the stage version of the piece has had many incarnations. In the wake of riots in London and other major cities in the year since it last graced the Fringe, this adaptation of Burgess’ seminal work about disenfranchised violent teens seems particularly resonant today.
Using a minimal set, highlighted by monochrome costumes and garish orange props, the production is slick and assured throughout. We are introduced to Alex (Martin McCreadie) and his droogs – a gang whose interests include robbery, rape and ‘ultraviolence’. The self-proclaimed leader of the group, Alex takes pleasure in these pursuits and ends up imprisoned for beating a woman to death as he robs her home. After two years inside he volunteers for a programme designed to ‘cure’ his violent tendancies, provoking debate on their nature of goodness and whether choice is what makes us human.
Erotic, engaging and energetic, the physical nature of the production gives it added punch and power. The entire cast of this multifaceted, muscular production are strong actors and dancers, but McCreadie’s Alex is truly outstanding. From his controlled bursts of violence to tender interactions he shows his skill and range, making perfect sense of Burgess’ “Nadsat” slang. Philip Honeywell and Damien Hasson also give noteworthy performance, the latter playing both Deltoid and the Prison Chaplain, representing both Alex’s damnation and salvation. With choreographed sequences that are tight, imaginative, and flawlessly executed, this reimagining does not put a foot wrong, with references to the recent civil unrest and the choice to set it in the North West of England making it piercingly relevant.
Until 27th AugustEdinburgh Fringe: A Clockwork Orange – Pleasance Courtyard,