Coming Up For Air, Assembly@George Street, Edinburgh
Friday 15 August 2008
You can't avoid the heady whiff of nostalgia in Dominic Cavendish's sensitive adaptation of George Orwell's Coming up for Air. In the novel, Orwell not only predicted the start of the Second World War but also glimpsed the life and society that would follow.
The central figure George Bowling is not a particularly likeable chap, a flabby insurance salesman who would rather spend a small windfall on new false teeth than on his joyless wife Hilda. The comic actor Hal Cruttenden gives a rounded portrayal of Bowling's midlife crisis, which sends him off for a weekend down memory lane triggered by the biblical character of Og, king of Bashan. Cruttenden's Bowling is boyishly aquiver at the prospect of recapturing glory days in his childhood stamping ground of Lower Binfield, only to find utter disillusion.
Cavendish's elisions leave the story remarkably intact and his faithfulness to Orwell, and Cruttenden's perceptive characterisation, puts the novel in a fresh light. Nineteen Eighty-Four and Animal Farm may occupy the higher intellectual ground but, at least when portrayed so truthfully as in Gene David Kirk's unobtrusive production, Coming up for Air reveals an emotional heart. Here the past becomes a foreign land in which to travel hopefully is infinitely better than to arrive.
To 25 August (0131-623 3030)
TVJamie's Sugar Rush reveal's campaigning chef's new foe
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 What marriage would look like if we actually followed the Bible
- 2 President Obama leaves touching comment on Humans of New York photo from Iran
- 3 If these extraordinarily powerful images of a dead Syrian child washed up on a beach don't change Europe's attitude to refugees, what will?
- 4 The Chinese city where men have 'three girlfriends because there are so many women'
- 5 'Heartbreaking' Syria orphan photo wasn't taken in Syria and not of orphan
The Gamechangers trailer: Daniel Radcliffe stars in GTA movie
Star Wars: New action dolls launched on Force Friday ahead of The Force Awakens release
Ricki And The Flash, film review: Meryl Streep's rock'n'roll creation steals the show
Joan Aiken: Today's Google Doodle celebrates life of British fantasy novelist
Photographer captures the beauty and intensity of his girlfriend giving birth at home
Britain to take more refugees as Cameron bows to pressure after more than 250,000 back our campaign
Senior British politicians tell David Cameron: When dead children are being washed up on beaches – it's time to act
Jeremy Corbyn calls Osama bin Laden's killing a 'tragedy' - but was it taken out of context?
If these extraordinarily powerful images of a dead Syrian child washed up on a beach don't change Europe's attitude to refugees, what will?
If you're not already angry about the refugee crisis, here's a history lesson to remind you why you really should be
Refugees welcome: More than 250,000 sign Independent petition calling for Britain to 'take its fair share'