Review: A Clockwork Orange, Soho Theatre


“Things have changed a bit, old droogie”

Any adaptation of Anthony Burgess’ 1962 novella A Clockwork Orange has to battle with the hugely iconic imagery of the Kubrick film but with their own unique take, the Action To The Word company has come close to making it their own as modern parlance would have it. Previously a hit in Edinburgh, the show forms the main house Christmas entertainment at the Soho Theatre and whilst titillating and leaving one thirsty for a drink of milk, it is a curious thing. The story of an über-violent dystopian society full of disaffected youth in which teenage Alex leads a vicious gang of droogs on the rampage is one laced with real darkness, especially as we see Alex get caught, thrown into prison and then subjected to a government-supervised medical trial, but the presentation in Alexandra Spencer-Jones’ production leans away from the violent core. 

She uses an all-male cast to deliberately ramp up the testosterone level and though a programme note insists that “the piece isn’t ‘gay’ or ‘straight’”, there is no doubting that the levels of homo-eroticism are off the scale. Not that this is a bad thing, not at all, but it means that the air is frequently heavy with seductive sexuality rather than danger, the sexual violence ends up being perhaps just a little too sexy. Additionally, the physical language utilised, with its frequent use of movement to the vibrant soundtrack which embraces Placebo and the Eurythmics just as much as the famous Beethoven, adds another distancing factor as stylised choreography replaces the naturalism of stage combat. Continue reading “Review: A Clockwork Orange, Soho Theatre”