Orwell’s 1984 has become a classic in more than one way. Its bleak parable of Winston Smith, that less-than-innocent urban cog in a totalitarian wheel, has been adapted for the stage and film several times. Nick Lane's new version gives it a straightforward narrative illuminated by excellent performances and a quite brilliant design concept. It is an attention-riveting piece of pure theatrical magic.
We’re in a world of visual as well as moral distortion. The acting area is hedged in by grey shapes and screens – several sorts of screen. Designer Sue Condie, animators Rob Pointon, Karen Sayle and Louise Hodkiss] with audio-visual designer David Phillips confront us with a kaleidoscopic succession of images. These reference the war art of Moore, Searle and Topolski as well as charcoal-sketched story-boards for printed and film cartoons. Yet they never detract from the five actors on stage, for the most part wearing simple dark boiler-suits.