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Saturday, 30 August 2014

1984 - Citizens Theatre.

It has been said that the only culture I indulge in is scraped off the bottom of a yoghurt pot at 3am when I do a hangover raid on the fridge, but that’s a dirty lie as when time permits I don’t mind indulging in a bit of theatre.

In fact the truth is that I love it.

Although I will admit that as a working class boy there’s a bit of me that does feel the need to justify my penchant for a good stage play.

It’s irrational, and of course my rational mind baulks at that revelation, but I can’t help but accept that deep down there is a part of me that still feels that the theatre is not for the likes of a semi literate chancer who grew up in the wilds of Ayrshire.  
In very quiet moments a small voice often whispers that it is for my betters.
My so called betters being those who have basked in an existence that wasn’t one of making ends meet, wearing hand me downs, and instead revolved around chats with mater and pater about the merits of impressionist art over classic realism.

It is silly stuff, and most assuredly not rooted in reality and the voice is of course one that I try not to listen to.

Thankfully it does helps that the Citizens Theatre in Glasgow has always advocated strongly that the tales that are shared from their stage are for everyone, and it is ensconced in one of their seats that the voice that whispers to me is so very often drowned out by the inclusive spectacle of the events that they regularly host.

A prime example of this was provided by the performance of an adaptation of 1984 by Headlong that they currently have running.

I’ve always been pushing that people should read Orwell, and I consider that through the character of Winston that he painted a dystopian picture that is well deserved to be considered as a globally recognized precognisant masterpiece.

Yet this imaginative adaptation by Robert Icke and Duncan Macmillan takes the story, one that has always been darkly alive, and pumps even more fresh blood into it.

By twisting how the tale is delivered by looking at it from a future vantage point as if the fictional account was one that was based on actual events - even if the character of Winston himself is accepted as a fictional one - they allowed us all to immerse ourselves in what could be the equivalent of what could be considered akin to an Anne Frank diary speaking to us from the past.
An example of not what could be, but what once was, and by coming at it from this angle the message of the evils of totalitarianism are writ large, and are then ultimately difficult to ignore when we leave the theatre and consider the present world as it is.

Clever, thought provoking and entertaining.
In fact it is everything that the novel equally is.

While I have often been left enchanted by live theatre this is one performance that I would not hesitate in recommending to literally everyone.
It’s a must see in every way imaginable, or probably a more accurate statement would be a must be experienced event in every way imaginable.


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