Tuesday, August 11, 2009

"A Clockwork Orange" - Edinburgh Fringe 2009

Rounding up a full day in Edinburgh was a late night performance of "A Clockwork Orange" at C by EatTheBaby Productions. At just over the hour I was interested to see how they would manage to interpret the book (or the film if you prefer) in the time constraints and solve the staging difficulties of showing Alex and his droogs ultraviolence.

What you get is a production that gets all the key elements in, but with jumps in the narrative that leave you slightly bewildered. We spin from Alex's cocky casual violence; the events leading to his arrest and to his incarceration; the application of the Ludovico technique and all that results from that. However by trying to tell everything you lose the clarity of the tale and the depth of meaning. I'm unsure how much you would have followed if you had come to the show without having some context, particularly given the Nadsat which makes txt spk seem almost intelligble.

It's a difficult dilemma when adapting a well known work for the stage, but given the limited time I firmly feel that some liberties needed to be taken with the adaptation to bring a focus to the piece.

There is certainly an energy about the performances, and the ensemble works well - especially as most have multiple roles. The violence was well executed and choreographed, but the scene changes weren't smooth enough and helped take kill the pace. I did enjoy it, but felt disappointed more hadn't been done with a work that cries out for a stylish and clever production.

"A Clockwork Orange" continues at C until 22 August at 22:00

Image by Adam Levy. Used with permission.

1 Heckle

Statler said...

The production just wasn't stylish enough for me - and when there were attempts at striking set pieces such as the 'wrapping' and 'unwrapping' of Alex they were overlong and lacked impact.

I can't fault the performances from the fully committed cast, but the production values didn't really meet my expectations for a show at one of the Fringe's more high profile venues. And any show based on A Clockwork Orange is missing a trick if it doesn't have a strong video element.

A missed opportunity.