Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Theatre note: Blind Summit's Nineteen Eighty-Four

Last night a friend's spare ticket took me to an adaptation of Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four at the Battersea Arts Centre. It was sold to me as a puppet version, which sounded irresistibly unwise. In fact, although there are a couple of puppets, what you mainly see are people, in overalls, performing the story as Brechtian didactic theatre - as if Brecht were a member of the Ingsoc Inner Party. Chunks of the original narration are delivered with a sort of ironic sarcasm, which I suppose cancels out to sincerity. The framing device works brilliantly in the first half, sinister and funny; it helps that you're not wholly certain at first it isn't real bad Brechtian theatre. In the second half, when the company are required to evoke soul-annihilating terror, the frame starts to get in the way. But if soul annihilation isn't your idea of a fun night out, that might be just as well.

Weather note: when I came out of the BAC, the saddle of my bicycle had a thick coating of frost. Not lock-freezing cold yet, though, thank God.

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