Revolution Farm, Newham City Farm, theatre review: A powerful update of Orwell's classic
Friday 22 August 2014
Instead of “Four legs good, two legs bad”, the animals are whipped up to chant “Four legs badass, two legs wasteman” in this terrifically powerful update – adapted by James Kenworth and directed by James Martin Charlton – of Orwell's timeless Soviet Union-inspired fable of revolutionary ideals betrayed by the crushing of its left wing and the rise of a a self-serving elite.
The unique selling points of this version – which resounds with troubling echoes of our own predicament today in Britain – are not just the in-yer-face modernity of the language and attitudes, but the fact that it unfolds as a promenade performance in the precincts of a genuine inner-city farm.
Thanks to Ian Teague's excellent design and costumes (half-masks, adapted hoodies etc), there's a weird cognitive dissonance between the enlightened trappings of the actual farm and the atrocities (purges registered as the crashing of bodies against the wooden walls of a shut barn) that are fictionally perpetrated upon it.
Young amateur actors play the bulk of the vilely duped animals. Nicola Alexis is transfixingly menacing as a Mugabe-like Daddy Love (the Stalin stand-in the book) and Kevin Kinson breaks your heart as the trusting workhorse Warrior and Andreas Angelis is horribly funny as Smoothy, Daddy Love's representative on earth.
“Heroes of the Revolution, I salute you!” he declares raising his hipflask and promptly keeling over drunk on officially unrevolutionary booze.
2 performances a day until 24 August; www.ticketsource.co.uk
Glastonbury Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend will perform with Paul Weller as their warm-up act
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Katie Hopkins gives rare glimpse of sensitive side with heartfelt open letter to her children penned in case she dies from epilepsy
- 2 Rihanna's Met Gala dress took one Chinese woman 2 years to make, was reduced to omelette meme in 2 seconds
- 3 Top Gear: Jodie Kidd, Philip Glenister and Guy Martin 'in advanced talks' to replace Jeremy Clarkson and co
- 4 Frankie Boyle on Scottish independence: 'In the Interests of Unity, F**k Off'
- 5 Florida couple forced to register as sex offenders for having sex on public beach
Penny Dreadful, series 2 episode 1, review: It is still gloriously silly
Top Gear: Jodie Kidd, Philip Glenister and Guy Martin 'in advanced talks' to replace Jeremy Clarkson and co
Eurovision 2015: What date and time is the song contest and who are the favourites to win?
How the Other Half Eat, Channel 4 - TV review: Swapping food trolleys shows how food and class are closely connected
Noel Gallagher 'cannot wait' to hear Oasis-inspired One Direction album but rants about 'pointless' Tidal and Spotify
In defence of liberal democracy
General Election 2015: Post-election 'shambles' looms as 70 per cent of voters say SNP 'should not be able to veto UK government policies'
The Rothschild Libel: Why has it taken 200 years for an anti-Semitic slur that emerged from the Battle of Waterloo to be dismissed?
General Election 2015: UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power, Labour warns
General election live: SNP suspends two members for disrupting Labour rally
Schools forced to act as 'miniature welfare states' with teachers buying underwear and even haircuts for poor pupils