This version of Anthony Burgess’ A Clockwork Orange is a play that can easily be described – like with the book and subsequent Stanley Kubrick film – as slightly disturbing, and as beautiful as it is brutal.
The all-male cast of nine stunning men strut around the performance space like peacocks in full bloom, displaying pumped, muscular bodies with taut skin and veins bulging in their necks and shoulders. This is the male sex in its most statuesque form.
A clash takes place between two gangs – the Droogs and their main rivals led by Billy Boy. Think Montague vs Capulet or Jets vs Sharks and you have it. This version of A Clockwork Orange is also a ballet, which is compelling to watch and totally mesmerising mainly due to the performance of Jonno Davies as Alexander. This young actor, like a young Brando or James Dean, is exceptional, powerful and very sexy. A star in the making.
The violence is acute with simulations of forced anal penetrations and masturbation, but at the heart of this play is a sophistication and melodrama that director Alexandra Spencer-Jones has orchestrated with incredible effect.
Other acting honours have to go to Philip Honeywell and the scenes he shares with the aforementioned Davies are electric.
The use of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony heightens the energy of the piece. And as with the book the question is asked: does society create hoodlums, thugs and degenerates? Who can say for sure, but reverse conditioning surely has its drawbacks.
This is a unique and vibrant piece of art, with comedy elements of the script generating nervous laughter from a very attentive crowd. Brilliant!