A Clockwork Orange

OSO Arts Centre, London, Keble O'Reilly, Oxford

August-October 2016

Company - Barricade Arts

Director - Jonny Danciger

Lighting - Kat Padel/Chris Burr

Producer - John Paul

 

 

1/1

**** - A brave and worthwhile production of a classic story, given new life by this youthful and energetic team. 

So iconic and unforgettable is the conditioning scene in the film that trying to replicate it on stage would be a disaster. Thankfully this reimagining for the stage grants it a new, and very unsettling, life. Rather than using visual effects, instead an oral assault on the mind portrays the horrors that the retrained Alex has to endure to turn him against his violent ways.

Whilst this is a student production, to call it so risks belittling the efforts that have clearly gone into putting this play together. An intense few weeks of rehearsals, including apparently seven hours choreographing the gang fight scene, shows the dedication that has gone into this. The horrors that made the film remarkable remain here. 

- Rob Warren, Everything Theatre

Jonny Danciger’s direction offers an impressive recreation of the film’s opening scene. From thereon in, matters escalate into violence. Early scenes demonstrate a striking balletic finesse soundtracked by the emotive symphonies of Beethoven.

This is a nightmarish trip that will get the brain ticking and the senses tingling. - ****

- Greg Wetherall, LondonTheatre1

A Clockwork Orange is a challenging piece to adapt to stage, but it is tackled in an innovative way in this bold and captivating piece. The physicality is impressive and convincing, the rival gangs’ fight especially mesmerising to watch.

Part of the brilliance of this play is the suggestion of violence, the psychological probing used to make the audience imagine for themselves what is happeningThis is evoked especially creatively during Alex’s rehabilitation treatment. As he watches scenes of ‘ultra-violence’ on a screen and is made to feel nauseated, the audience is subjected to incessant and painful strobe lighting. Brodsky, the doctor, provides a commentary to violent scenes that Alex would be watching, making us conquer up own our individual disturbing video. It is an excellent design, enabling the audience to become thoroughly engaged in the story. As the plot becomes twisted and upsetting, we are more fully drawn into to the heart of the play.

Clearly a lot of thought and care has gone into this production, and it is a refreshing and thought-provoking piece. Themes of freewill and identity are touched on, but thanks to Cameron Spain’s performance as a more light-hearted Chaplain, we are not bombarded with moralistic sermons. The play’s power comes much more from its interesting dramatic depiction of such a disturbing tale. The innovative and intense experience of the play itself is worth buying a ticket for.

Megan Husain, The Oxford Student

It is always a challenge to adapt a novel’s narrative to the stage. Even more so, when the novel is a dystopia like A Clockwork Orange. And yet, last night’s adaptation of Anthony Burgess’s novel at the Keble O’Reilly theatre transcended these issues, placing its focus on the individual characters through a minimalist use of props, and exposed a most interesting side of the author’s narrative, namely the enhanced characterisation of the parts and the interactions between them.

On the whole, this student playact can only be deemed mesmerising. Perhaps due to the skilful employment of theatrical effects and lights. Perhaps it was the inspired casting of a lady as one of Alex’s violent and vicious ‘droogs’ (none of which are female in the original text), which gave the play a nice twist and a touch of violent femininity, much needed in our time of sexual equality. Or perhaps it was the general competence and preparation of the cast, especially in the acrobatic stunts, necessary for the narration of a tale of violence and vice. One just finds it difficult to decide what made this play so amusing and enjoyable.

- Matt Roberts, The Cherwell

 

Mercury Fur

Michael Pilch Studio, February 2016

Company - Barricade Arts

Director - Jonny Danciger

Lighting - Mark Danciger

Producer - John Paul

 

Philip Ridley's Mercury Fur is, in my opinion, simultaneously the most disturbing and most beautiful play written this century. At its core it poses two crucial questions: how far would you stretch morality to protect the people you love, and to what extremes do we need to clamber to truly feel alive in an increasingly desensitised world?

In our production, we aimed to create an oppressive experience for the audience from the first point of contact. A 'bouncer' made unsettling comments on the door, rows were crammed deliberately tight, and particle effects choked the audience with the stench of decaying biological matter. This hostile environment wasn't solely intended to intensify the play's dark subject matter. Rather, it served to make the moments of love and true human connection all the more beautiful in their resistance, and all the more heartbreaking when they are torn apart. 

Above all else, the rehearsal process was intensely psychological. Drawing from both Stanislavski and Artaud, every relationship and motivation was thoroughly interrogated before being directed towards the extremities of raw emotional instinct.

 

1/1

It’s sometimes all too easy, considering the culture of violence we live in, to watch films and tv programs depicting murder or rape, and feel unmoved, or at least, blank. Jonny Danciger’s production of Mercury Fur however, will not leave you complacent. It’s utterly compelling

...

It’s wonderful to see that clearly brilliant actresses were given the opportunity to make previously ‘male’ parts theirs. It might sound patronizing, but so often it seems that directors take the easy route and simply cast according to gender binary.  Danciger clearly revisualised parts to make them about the person, rather than the assigned gender, and evidently to an excellent end.

...

This production is a shockingly good piece of drama. Clearly, the play is incredibly graphic and represents a number of taboo activities, which some audience members might struggle with, but all in all, this is a superbly directed piece with a great ensemble cast. It certainly made me think.

- Annie Hayter, The Oxford Student