Young Reporters: Brave New World blogs
Brave New World: A powerful performance of a dystopian story brought to life at the Grand Theatre, Blackpool. By Charlotte Bee
This new adaptation of the dystopian novel of Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, brought to the beautiful Grand Theatre in Blackpool, is an almost juxtaposition in settings, with the impressive set drawing your attention straight away, with a stage full of screens to help to bring the futuristic atmosphere to an otherwise opposite surrounding of a classically beautiful theatre.
It is the first stage adaptation, brought to life by the award-winning playwright Dawn King, director by James Dacre, and original new music provided by These New Puritans, and is the first play of a science fiction novel I have seen at the theatre, but definitely captured my attention enough to ensure it won’t be the last.
The production is set in a world where people are genetically engineered into a class system, where all castes are conditioned into different social classes, with Alpha’s being the highest caste, intelligent and beautiful, then Betas, who are engineered with sufficient intelligence to do their job, but not enough to question the system, and the lower castes Gamma’s, Delta’s and Epsilon workers are less intelligent, but happy in their menial jobs.
This class system was engineered to bring order and stability into a world once filled with war and religion, but now lust replaces love, intimacy is banned, promiscuity encouraged, and everyone belongs to everyone else.
Everyone can have what he or she wants, families are non-existent, if not a taboo subject, no one ages or is afraid of death, and everyone takes mind-enhancing drugs to keep themselves continuously happy.
The opening scene cleverly includes the audience cast as new recruits at the London Hatchery, where you are introduced to Margret Mond (Sophie Ward) who is the regional world controller for Western Europe, Bernard (Gruffudd Glyn) an Alpha who cannot seem to fit into his social caste, and Lenia (Olivia Morgan) who is Beta Lab worker, crucial to the story as she later on proves that this new world has its problems, and accidentally learns the pain of love.
The character making her question her feelings is non other than a savage, John (William Postlethwaite), who is the character that turns this brave new world upside down and causes the emotional rollercoaster where two different societies collide, and challenges the ideas of human conditioning and class structures.
It is a striking performance from him and his mother Linda (Abigail McKern), specifically in the second half, which ends with a tragic, moving scene as powerful to those who know the story, to those who are new to Huxley’s controversial work.
The compelling and impressive performances from the cast draw you into this new world, leaving you transfixed, bringing out a variety of emotions from this dark, controversial story, and with themes that we can all somewhat relate to, but don’t dare express as our own desires.
It is brilliantly executed, witty, and clever, and is a story that will leave you questioning what life would really be like if this world was really our future, and is a truly memorable performance not to be missed.
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