Review: 1984 at Playhouse Theatre in London

PUBLISHED: 09:35 13 September 2016 | UPDATED: 17:27 14 September 2016

1984 is in its third West End run at the Playhouse Theatre

1984 is in its third West End run at the Playhouse Theatre

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Time Out labelled it as "great, queasy theatre", while Huffington Post Entertainment described it as "Orwell on speed".

Cast of 1984, performing in London at the Playhouse Theatre. Photo courtesy Manuel HarlanCast of 1984, performing in London at the Playhouse Theatre. Photo courtesy Manuel Harlan

And after seeing 1984, on its third West End run at the Playhouse Theatre in London, it is easy to agree with both of those opinions.

This show should come with a warning though – do not attempt to hold a full glass of wine while watching, as the unexpected plunging of the theatre into darkness, followed by the sudden, switching on of bright lights, accompanied by very loud noises will soon see you wearing your aforementioned beverage.

This is edge-of-your-seat theatre, which is kind of like a never-ending roller coaster ride when you are constantly in climb mode, and waiting for some sort of relief, in the descent.

You definitely cannot relax, as your senses are assaulted from start to finish, particularly as it is performed straight through, for 101 minutes.

Although the show is based on George Orwell’s dystopian masterpiece, its avant-garde take on the book is so unusual that even several days afterwards, you suddenly remember some of the more painful scenes.

Winston’s experience of Room 101 is definitely unforgettable, with the horrors of persistent public mind-control brought to the fore, in tortuous ways.

If you want to watch something unusual and, I would say, eccentric, this is definitely one show I would recommend. But wait till the end to get that glass of wine – it’ll help to calm the nerves afterwards!

1984, adapted by Olivier Award-winner Robert Icke and Olivier Award-nominee Duncan Macmillan, has a new cast, including Rosie Ede in the role of Mrs Parsons who lives in Ware, Hertfordshire.

This third West End run of Orwell’s work has been extended until October 29 at the Playhouse Theatre, which is located around the corner from Embankment underground, or a 10 minute walk from Charing Cross, if you are using National Rail services.

• The cast for the hit West End production includes Rudi Dharmalingam, Rosie Ede, Andrew Gower, Joshua Higgott, Anthony O’Donnell, Daniel Rabin, Catrin Stewart alongside Eve Benioff Salama, Cleopatra Dickens, Amber Fernee and India Fowler who alternate the role of Child. Also, there has recently been a cast change so Hilton McRae is now playing the part Angus Wright previously played, O’Brien.

• Tickets for this critically and publically acclaimed production are now on sale and available at: http://1984theplay.co.uk/

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