Down and Out in Paris and London, a modern satire inspired by George Orwell’s memoir comes to the New Diorama Theatre this May. The London season follows a sell-out opening run at last year’s Edinburgh Festival Fringe.
In 1927, struggling writer Eric Blair plunged himself into the Parisian underworld, trying to find inspiration for his first book. When he emerged he had written one of history’s starkest accounts of life on the extreme breadline and had created the persona of George Orwell, who was to go on to create some of the most influential political writings of the last century.
Almost a hundred years later, journalist and writer Polly Toynbee followed in Orwell’s footsteps and went undercover living on the minimum wage, claiming job seekers allowance and living in social housing to write her expose of life in low-pay Britain: Hard Work.
This production adapted, written and directed by David Byrne, weaves together both George in 1920’s Paris and Polly in modern London as they try to navigate their way through life in a world of poverty, zero-hours contracts, labour-exchanges, universal credit and crippling inequality. Switching between the two stories, Down & Out in Paris and London is a witty, insightful and breathless exploration of the biggest issue facing modern society.