REVIEW: Brave New World @ Darlington Civic Theatre (10.11.15) | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Imagine being genetically engineered and predestined to belong to a caste system where you could potentially end up as a drone. Growing up in a controlled educational environment which includes erotic play as an activity. A society controlled by enforced happiness, where everyone belongs to everybody else. Sound creepy? It is.

Dawn King and the Touring Consortium Theatre Company managed to translate Aldous Huxley’s classic 1932 dystopian novel into a script which stays true to the original material (it wasn’t necessary to update it to suit modern life; it was already way ahead of its time). The irony being that ensuring the ‘happiness’ of the masses leads to widespread blocking out of reality with Soma, a drug which instantly hits the spot.

James Howard (The Director) and Sophie Ward (Margaret Mond) are perfectly poised as leaders of this engineered reality, Olivia Morgan (Lenina) and Gruffudd Glyn (Bernard) thankfully possess more human characteristics as a counterpoint to the robotic coldness of many other characters. It was amusing when the ways of society many years ago (equivalent to ours) were mocked; they are so oblivious to the horrors of their own world.

The futuristic set utilises screens and multimedia effectively, transporting us to a place where the upper classes take copter trips to other lands (such as a savage reservation where people born and raised in the same way as us live in squalor) and go and see 3D sensory films (feelies) on weekends. William Postletwhaite (John the Savage) perfectly captures the essence of the noble savage. Music by These New Puritans also brings a dark sense of foreboding to the action. If the future’s Brave New World sees order, lust and stability replacing love, spontaneity and compassion, they can keep it.

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