On the 15th of October I was lucky enough to see a matinee showing of ‘Brave New World’ at the grand Theatre Royal. In this adaptation by Dawn King ,we gaze into a dystopian future where sadness is not tolerated and humans are genetically put into their class and profession before birth; but accessible drugs distract them from their harsh reality.
By gender swapping some of the main characters, Dawn King masterfully manipulates the classic tale to make it more relevant to a modern audience. She also adds topics that would be considered more ‘hard-hitting’ than the original 1931 story – such as the creation of genetically modified children to create an immediate job and class system.
She states in an interview with Holly Williams-:
We live in a dystopia now. We’re walking round with tiny computers in our pockets. Our government probably knows everything about us; our phone companies definitely do, even your calorie intake and heart rate…it’s pure dystopia.
This belief is demonstrated within the play and greatly reflects our modern society.
Set in a distant future where life is about ‘everyone belongs to everyone’ and love is non-existent, a world of promiscuity is introduced to a young and naïve John the Savage (played by William Postlethwaite) who is from ‘the other place’ – a time and place with religion and love similar to our own. Chaos unfurls when this society, thanks to John, is introduced to ‘feelings’.
Projections flashed in the background to create a ‘sci-fi’ atmosphere (designed by Colin Grenfell and Keith Skretch) and really immersed the audience into this artificially designed future. Scenery was pushed on and off stage with tracks built within the stage by the actors creating a controlled atmosphere. It should also be mentioned that the actors’ choreography was always on point, and gave a controlled and ‘intellectually designed’ element to the play (by movement director, Eddie Kay).
The experience as a whole took you on a spiral of feelings, from horror, to laughter to fear. It left you with a feeling of both anger at what could be, potentially, our future and the injustice within the content.
A must watch, especially if you enjoyed ‘1984’ or any dystopian future fiction! I would suggest due to the sexual content, that it would be suitable for 15 years old or older.