London Premiere of Orwell Toynbee Drama

Down and Out in Paris and London at the New Diorama Theatre

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 … Read more

The success of Headlong’s 1984 and its contribution to the future of theatre

1984 by George Orwell at the Playhouse Theatre

It was announced this week that, due to unprecedented demand, Headlong’s 1984 is extending its run at the Playhouse Theatre until August 23rd, prior to its second UK tour. The play itself reminds us of the dangers of following suit. The popularity of this anti-populist play therefore is a particularly pertinent indicator of some significant shifts in theatre. Robert Icke and Duncan Macmillian’s 1984 is more harrowing, chilling and stimulating than it is enjoyable. A bit like spending 1hr 41 minutes in a refrigerator – cold and bright – 1984 is brilliant if you like your theatre heart free and served up over ice. This is innovation as well as imitation; truthful to the novel and yet bold with interpretation. The writer-directors embrace the novel’s appendix, using it a framing device. The play gives voice to the book’s accompanying comment, opening in the seemingly familiar territory of a discussion group where … Read more