Critics 'heartily recommend' Brave New World onstage

Critics 'heartily recommend' Brave New World onstage

10 September 2015

by Terri Paddock

The national press flocked to Northampton this week for the world premiere of Brave New World at the Royal & Derngate. What did critics from the Telegraph, Independent, Guardian and others make of this world premiere adaptation of Aldous Huxley's dystopian future, as realised by adapter Dawn King and director James Dacre

Here are some of the highlights of the reviews published to date, with many more still to come. For updates over the coming days, as well as forthcoming regional opening nights on tour, check back in the Reviews section of our Brave New World production pages.

National newspapers


INDEPENDENT: ★ ★ ★ ★ 'Harrowing story of an anti-tragic utopia is heartily recommended'

Paul Taylor: 'King remains broadly faithful to the novel's take of the future but she artfully tweaks it at points to emphasise how its prescience trains light on our own current fears about techno-addiction and mind-control.'


TELEGRAPH: ★ ★ ★ ★ 'Rich and disturbing'

Dominic Cavendish: 'A boot stamping on a human face forever, or an all-embracing but suffocating erotic hug? Pain as the primary means of state control over the individual - or pleasure? '



Lyn Gardner: 'There’s a clever device that casts the audience as new recruits at the London Hatchery, where future citizens are named after Greek alphabet letters and designed to specification.'


Dominic Maxwell: 'Huxley’s depiction of a consumerist utopia taken to the nth degree — then gone sour — still rings uncomfortably true.'


Natasha Tripney: 'Dacre and designer Naomi Dawson have created a version of the future as viewed through the eyes of the past, and the production has a kind of retro, Jetson-sleek aesthetic'


Online reviews



Libby Purves: 'Dawn King’s adaptation, under James Dacre’s stark, tight direction, sticks thrillingly close to Huxley '


Natasha Hegarty: 'James Dacre and his cast have done a wonderful job bringing this harsh – in some ways scary – story to the stage...The play hits you like a force field, especially in this social media-fuelled, political world.'


Matt Trueman: 'Days after 1984 closed in the West End, Brave New World kicks off in Northampton – and, in all honesty, I find Aldous Huxley's vision of a world placated into productivity more persuasive than Orwell's of compliance through fear.'

BROADWAY WORLD: 'Interesting and thought-provoking production'

Verity Wilde: 'This is a very well designed production, making good use of projections and music to build the world and create different moods.'


Regional reviews



Hilary Scott: 'Whacks the viewer straight between the eyes – opening with a boom of music and lights and then steadying with the sterility of the laboratory conditions.'


Sam Wildman: 'It is fascinating to see just how realistic Huxley’s future vision was – and we must remember this was written in 1931'


Steve Mills: 'The overall production is incredibly brave and a startlingly new piece.'


Brave New World premieres at Royal and Derngate, Northampton, where it runs from 4 to 26 September 2015. It then tours to Edinburgh, Blackpool, Nottingham, Cheltenham, Wolverhampton, Darlington and Bradford where it concludes on 5 December.