A Clockwork Orange – Edinburgh Fringe Festival – live review

A Clockwork Orange
The Pleasance, Edinburgh Fringe Festival
21 August 2012

Reports coming in from our other reporter at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, David Marren. His first gives us the low down on the highly recommended version of A Clockwork Orange by The Action To The Word company.

From the very opening sequence when a group of marauding menacing Droogs skulk slinkily onto the stage the eroticized tension is apparent. A major hit at last years Fringe, The Action To The Word company return and manage to create another high octane, tension addled and sexy all male show which at times resembles an S&M West Side Story. It is a thoroughly exhilarating ride which has its audience as feverish at its conclusion as the, dripping with sweat, cast.

The familiar tale of Anthony Burgess’s classic novel involves a gang known as the ”Ëœdroogs’ led by the wayward Alex- a simply astoundingly thrilling performance from Martin McCreadie- who while away their hours indulging in ultra-violence and sadistic sexual practices.

They are drop-outs with few prospects and have coined their own hybrid language of Russian juxtaposed with English to create a teenage street patois recognizable only between each other. After being caught and arrested for crimes committed Alex is forced to submit to treatments guaranteed to turn him into a more civilized human being who thinks in a regular fashion; like the clockwork orange of the title.

This is a modernized version of Kubrick’s 1971 screen outing which is still a potent work even if time has placed it as a glam rock curio more than anything. Although the sequences involving Beethoven ”“his instantly recognizable and associated Fifth Symphony soundtracks the opening fight sequence with force and vigour whilst the Ninth is omnipresent- still resonate much use is made of more modern music. Thus Gossip‘s ”ËœStanding in the Way of Control’ Bowie‘s dystopian ”ËœWe are the Dead’ and Placebo all strike a balance which lifts this production to a higher level.

The script is stripped back to basics- similarly and quite literally so are the cast on several occasions- and is all the better for it. It is a highly energetic show which even when it pauses to gather pace and let the tale unfold manages to keep the tension taut and the audience fraught. The balletic dance sequences are highly evolved and the interchangeable roles-and gender- of the cast never detract from the action unfolding.

Highly recommended for anyone who wants to see some highly impressive dance meets physical theatre via a classic tale given a modern twist and relevance. Hot, hot hot!


All words by David Marren. You can read more from David on LTW here.

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