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Review: Droogs and violence in A Clockwork Orange

Electrifying performances as young cast give their all in furiously-paced 90 minutes

24 February, 2017 — By Lucy Popescu

The high-energy A Clockwork Orange at Park Theatre

at Park Theatre 200

ALEXANDRA Spencer-Jones’s high-energy production uses an all-male cast and balletic fight scenes to add a layer of homoeroticism to Anthony Burgess’s dystopian tale.

Alex (an electrifying Jonna Davies) and his savage gang of “droogs” terrorise the local streets. They speak in a Russian-influenced slang called Nadsat as they carry out their acts of brutality, muggings and gang rape.

After a burglary ends in murder, Alex winds up in prison. He is offered early release if he undergoes experimental treatment which reconditions him to feel physically sick at the thought of violence.

Davies brilliantly captures Alex’s transformation from a strutting, cocksure 15-year-old to a vulnerable, neutered young adult, at the mercy of an unforgiving authoritarian state.

I first saw Spencer-Jones’s production in 2012 when the youth riots were still fresh in our minds. This time, there is a less satisfying resonance with our current political realities and not such a clear evocation of disaffected youth and the gratuitous nature of gang violence.

The display of young men’s bodies feels more fetishistic. In fact, the soundtrack, costume (tight, drainpipe jeans, vests and white braces), carefully coiffured hair and kohl-ringed eyes reminded me of the 1980s club scene.

Caveats aside, there is much to admire in this revival. It’s memorably choreographed, and the young cast give it their all during the play’s furiously paced 90 minutes. If you like loud, in-yer-face theatre you won’t be disappointed.

Until March 18
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