So this past week, I decided to venture out of my usual gig and movie routine to see Alexandra Spencer-Jones latest production of her hit revamped rendition of “A Clockwork Orange” by Anthony Burgress at the Park Theatre in Finsbury Park. I didn’t really know what to expect to be honest. My memories of the original 1971 Stanley Kubrick movie pretty much just recalled the controversy surrounding this ultra-violent work of art. In the 90s (when I was a teenager), watching the film even felt a little taboo for the sweet, small town boy in me to comprehend. I didn’t really understand the film when I was younger – it was far too deep, troubled and intelligent for me to fully grasp, but nevertheless it engrained itself into my psyche as one of the great high-brow pieces of film that I’d have in my back pocket to talk about when hanging out with my film snob friends. But honestly, I couldn’t describe the film beyond three words – controversial, violent and groundbreaking.
Fast forward to last week, my mate Phil Marriott sends me a Facebook message asking if I’d like to review “A Clockwork Orange” with him. I immediately agreed, not knowing too much about what to expect. I took a quick look at the cast and said, “Wow, hot cast” and then went about my day. After work, I jumped on the train and headed to the theatre for a night out with Phil.
First off – if you think this production of “A Clockwork Orange” is going to be as dated as the original – you’re wrong. It’s been completely revamped with a modern take thanks to Director Alexandra Spencer-Jones. The soundtrack alone is something to marvel for pop fans which includes amazing tracks from The Eurythmics, Placebo, Duran Duran and a mesmerizing drug-induced scene set out to “Comfortably Numb” by Scissor Sisters. I’ve hooked you in already I can tell.
And then…there’s the all-male cast, led by the powerful and uber talented beaut Jonno Davies who plays the lead character Alexander. who in a very Shakespearean way, play all the gender roles as well. It’s very clever. And then, there’s also a massive stroke of homo-eroticism in this production with flesh galore on show – something that even I was a wee bit taken back from, as this was completely unexpected for someone who didn’t really do their research on this new production.
I’m totally not complaining, mind you.
The only lingering relic of from the original film is the strong slang language that it uses called “Nadsat” which is part of what made the film famous to begin with. However, a few times I found myself going – “What did they just say?” I wish I had studied this useful little glossary before I saw the production. The fact I want to dive deeper now into the story and figure out what all this language means just proves to you how engaging this new production really is though.
Overall, if you’re looking for a different night out and want to see a play that challenges the noggin, stirs the groin and makes you feel energized, you’ll love Alexandra Spencer-Jones’ production of “A Clockwork Orange”. I want to see it again actually and that’s the first time I’ve said that about a theatre production since “Rent”. Yes, it’s that good. If you’re a culture vulture, you can’t afford to miss out on this.
“A Clockwork Orange” by Anthony Burgess runs at The Park Theatre in London until 18th March 2017.