Skip to main content

Brave New World

Kings Theatre, Edinburgh
Four stars


"Forget about the future," says pill-pacified pleasure seeker Lenina
at one point in Dawn King's stage adaptation of Aldous Huxley's dystopian 1931
novel en route to an emotion-free liaison with Bernard Marx, the most awkward
alpha male in town. "There's nothing we can do about it. Just live for
today."

Such a self-absorbed lifestyle choice was probably as all the rage in
Huxley's between-the-wars world as it is today. All dressed up in space-age
wigs, video projections resembling a Brian Eno installation and a stentorian
electronic soundscape care of pop panoramicists These New Puritans, however,
James Dacre's production for the Royal and Derngate, Northampton and The Touring
Consortium renders the story as all too recognisable prophecy.

It opens as a lecture, with the audience the new trainees being given a guided tour around a
hatchery centre where test tube babies are sired in a social caste system that
seemingly seals their fate for a half-life of feels-free kicks. This sets a tone
of dispassionate ice-cool ennui only broken when Gruffordd Glyn's Bernard goes on
a not so hot date to the badlands with Olivia Morgan's Lenina. Here they stumble
on William Postlethwaite's John The Savage, a Shakespeare-quoting bit of rough
who becomes a messiah-like cause célèbre, inspiring random outbreaks of sex,
violence and poetry before running off to the wilderness with Lenina.

Watching over all this is the World State Controller, Mond, played by
Sophie Ward as a gimlet-eyed social engineer who calls the shots in a slickly
realised if bleakly desolate affair that suggests people power has already been
tranquilised into submission.

Ends

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The Art School Dance Goes On Forever – Snapshots Of Masters Of The Multiverse

Intro – Snapshots – Deaf School

1

In 1980, the same year as the Manchester band, Magazine, released a 7
inch single called A Song From Under The Floorboards – a three verse
and chorus distillation of Dostoyevsky's novel, Notes From Underground
– an art school scandal occurred.

This scandal took place in Liverpool, and was based around a project
called the Furbelows, although it became better known in the Liverpool
Echo and other organs that reported it as the Woolly Nudes.

The Furbelows, or Woolly Nudes, were a group of artists who had come
out of Liverpool College of Art, who, dressed in grotesque woolly
costumes which featured knitted approximations of male and female
genitalia, made assorted public interventions around the city centre as
kind of living sculptures acting out assorted narratives.

The Furbelows project had been funded by what was then Merseyside Arts
Association, and, after the participants were arrested and taken to
court on obscenity charges after what…

Peter Brook – The Prisoner

Peter Brook is no stranger to Scotland, ever since the guru of European and world theatre first brought his nine-hour epic, The Mahabharata, to Glasgow in 1988. That was at the city’s old transport museum, which by 1990 had become Tramway, the still-functioning permanent venue that opened up Glasgow and Scotland as a major channel for international theatre in a way that had previously only been on offer at Edinburgh International Festival.
Brook and his Paris-based Theatre des Bouffes du Nord company’s relationship with Tramway saw him bring his productions of La Tragedie de Carmen, La Tempete, Pellease et Mellisande, The Man Who…, and Oh Les Beaux Jours – the French version of Samuel Beckett’s Happy Days – to Glasgow.
Thirty years on from The Mahabharata, Brook comes to EIF with another piece of pan-global theatre as part of a residency by Theatre des Bouffes du Nord, which Brook has led since he decamped to Paris from London in the early 1970s. The current Edinburgh residency has alr…

Martin McCormick – Ma, Pa and the Little Mouths

Family life is everything to Martin McCormick. The actor turned writer is having an increasingly high profile as a playwright, with his biggest play to date, Ma, Pa and the Little Mouths, opening this week at the Tron Theatre in Glasgow in a production in association with the National Theatre of Scotland as part of the Tron’s Mayfesto season. While his own domestic life with his wife, actress Kirsty Stuart, who is currently appearing in Frances Poet’s play, Gut, at the Traverse in Edinburgh, and their two children, sounds a hectic whirl of of juggling schedules, it is nothing like the world he has created for his play.
“I always knew it was going to be about two older people who’d experienced some kind of trauma and grief,” says McCormick, “but whatever it is that they’ve been through, it’s all in the background. They’re suppressing it, and there’s all this claustrophobia caused by all these suppressed emotions they’re going through while being stuck in this room. I guess all that came…