Review: 1984 – on Broadway

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.

BWAY 1984

As always you can find more at and on Twitter @walterthinnes

NEXT WEEK: Stage and Book reviews and more!

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