THEATRE REVIEW: Brave New World ★★★★
Brave New World
Everyman Theatre, Cheltenham
October 24th 2015
There are few plays these days that capture me through synopsis and background of the production, and even though Brave New World did exactly this, it wasn’t what made me want to come and see this play, but instead it was a curiosity to see how Aldous Huxley, the author of the book to which this adaptation is taken from, visioned the future when the book was originally written in 1931, before being published in 1932, and how similar it is to our present day now, and in all honesty, even though not entirely correct, though I really hope it would be in the future, it is still spookily accurate to how we treat different types of humanity these days.
So let’s talk about the production, which ultimately at the beginning feels like an experience, as you as the audience are viewed as staff trainees for the Central London Hatching and Conditioning Centre, where we are cleverly led through the centre to the different departments, where we learn about the Bokanovsky and Podsnap processes, as well as learning about the development of the two castes: Alpha and Beta. It was a really compelling start to this very striking show, and it really helped to understand the world in which we were being invited to see, set in a future that is not stated either, and meant that it really kept my focus throughout the whole performance, but not only because of how innovative the storyline was, but also because how incredible the set pieces were, especially the scene within the lift, as it looked incredibly realistic with a circular set piece at the top of the stage illuminating light being shown above and below, as well as side pieces which projected this incredible images throughout the whole production which kept my eyes transfixed, without losing focus on the action that was being shown on stage.
Visually stunning and sometimes breaktaking, the plot never dragged and I felt that all characters were well developed and played out brilliantly by every actor in the company, even when those who multi-roled gave so many varied performances to each character, though if there was one thing that I do think hindered the production, it would be the climax of the production, which I think lacked a real punch to what was meant to be a real emotional scene, and I think this was due to the matter that a similar device was used in a recent production that I saw which had a more lasting impact, so due to personal preference, I believe that this version used in Brave New World lacked the impact, though as a plot point was very strong and striking.
Overall, Brave New World was a terrific production which had me constantly on the edge of my seat thanks to a gripping storyline which weaved through many locations, but left me somewhat underwhelmed coming into the last act of the production, though still a brilliant production which should be viewed if given the chance!