Anthony Burgess’ cult novel A Clockwork Orange was made infamous by the Kubrick film. Known for its portrayal of ‘ultra-violence’, the pitfalls of an untamed adolescence and the amoral rehabilitation techniques, set to the rousing soundtrack of Beethoven, Kubrick banned his own film in the UK rather than allow it to be the inspiration for any disaffected youths.
Displaying violence and extremity in performance is where Action to the Word play their best – having previously brought gore-fest Titus Andronicus to the Fringe – as they turn the story of Alex and his droogs on its head, leading an all-male cast in this piece.
Immediately striking, what this piece may lack in the ability to recreate Kubrick’s cinematography, it more than makes up for in theatricality and sensuality. A deeply hedonistic piece, it explores sexuality, masculinity and aggression through contemporary music, exquisitely executed movement and the notoriety of Burgess’ text.
With the audience close enough to touch the cast, they are pulled into Alex’s world as he pushes his violent streak to its limits. The scenes of brutal rape are not softened by theatricality, more heightened by it. And with discussions of rioting being more prevalent than ever, it is evident that this social commentary remains relevant, even nearly 50 years after the original novella. This is high-powered theatre, highly recommended.