The stage adaptation of George Orwell’s landmark book 1984 is ending its Broadway run this weekend. I was able to catch a performance this week and could have been fine missing it. The performing leads are exceptional including Tom Sturridge, Olivia Wilde, and the amazing Reed Birney. I last saw Mr. Birney in The Humans where he was excellent and here is incredibly menacing in the final scene.
Interpreting this novel into a stage version would be a difficult task and doesn’t succeed. The production will be remembered for the light and sound tricks that assault the characters and the audience as well as the torture scene. I found the technical tricks intrusive instead of additive. I have mentioned before that stage violence has a greater intensity and is more disturbing to me than film violence. On screen violence is easily faked with camera and framing effects so that I usually see the trick and am not repelled by it. Here the trickery was clear and the film/projection effects from earlier scenes seemed to protect me from revulsion.
Sorry I cannot recommend seeing the show but it will end soon and we will move on to other productions.
NEXT WEEK: Stage and Book reviews and more!