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Fourth Monkey Theatre Company presents

 

Anthony Burgess’

A Clockwork Orange

 

Directed by Steven Green

 

Theatro Technis

 

9-13 March 2010

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A review by Greg Wohead for EXTRA! EXTRA!

As established theatre companies plod on through the years, often their work can lose some of its original spirit, getting bogged down in endless pandering to ticket sales, audiences who don’t wish to be challenged and a host of other issues that plague companies as they try to find a place in the theatrical landscape.  How refreshing, therefore, to see a production like A Clockwork Orange, the first production by Fourth Monkey Theatre Company, which is full of the energy and unapologetic enthusiasm that is so lacking in many older companies.  Director Steven Green and everyone involved in the production–from the actors to the designers–make the bold choices that are required to transport the audience into the dystopian world of Anthony Burgess’ A Clockwork Orange.

The story takes place in an England of the near future, where gangs of youths, who speak in an Anglo-Russified slang, get their pleasure from beating, raping and stealing from helpless victims.  The young people of this reality terrorise and intimidate, unleashing violently feral attacks on random people they come across.  Alex, the ring leader of one such gang, and his “droogs”, or friends, Dim and Georgie, set out on a night of mayhem that goes wrong when Alex’s dominant position in the gang is challenged. 

Immediately upon entering the theatre I am brought into the world of the play and the chaos that comes with it by the set, designed by Fiona Russell.  Dirty mattresses lay haphazard on the floor, strings of lights dangle from the ceiling, boxes lay scattered in a corner and chairs hang upside down on the wall, and Green uses everything in the space, by staging the play not just on the set, but organically in, around and through the rich environment created by Russell.

The music and lighting also add to the energy and momentum of the play from the beginning, inducing a pulsating rhythm that gets to the heart of the animal instinct portrayed by Alex.  The lighting design by Joshua Carr also plays boldly alongside the music.  During the wordless introduction of Alex at the start, a single bright light shines down on him harshly and throughout the play both the lighting and sound design (by Jo ‘Jeff’ Abram) establish the tone and keep it going.

The performances in this production live up to the raw energy of the design choices, with Amy Brangwyn’s Alex at the centre, creating an absolute whirlwind of energy onstage which spreads to the other actors.  Bianca Beckles-Rose proves very versatile, in turns effectively portraying the restrained Deltoid and–in a brief but memorable scene in which Alex returns to his parents to find his room has been rented out to the eccentric Lodger Joe. 

Fourth Monkey has created a production with unrestrained passion at its heart, and A Clockwork Orange seems a perfect fit to mirror the pure youthful energy of the company.  This short run at Theatro Technis will be followed by a run at The Space on the Mile at the Edinburgh Festival this summer.  As Fourth Monkey continues to grow, to find their feet and to explore with more specificity and subtlety, let’s hope they never lose the uninhibited commitment to creating bold work that they show with A Clockwork Orange.

 

 

Box Office:  08444771000
www.ticketweb.co.uk

Theatro Technis
26 Crowndale Road
London NW1 1TT

7.30pm

Tickets £10 (£8 concessions) in advance, £12 (£10 concessions) on door

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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