29 September to 3 October 2015
Reviewed by Darryl Ryznar
Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World tells the story of a dystopian future where disease and poverty have been eradicated and humans are ‘engineered’. This future, in Huxley’s eyes, is a futuristic land full of weird and wonderful sci-fi inventions where everyone is always happy and always get what they want – real feelings and emotions are banned (everyone is ‘conditioned’ to be happy) and their focus lies in consumerism and lust – and everyone lives within their class ranking (Alpha, Beta, Gamma etc.) under a harsh totalitarian regime.
Through the lives of the employees of the ‘Central London Hatchery and Conditioning Centre’ we get to understand this ‘brave new world’. Central focus lies on employee Bernard (Gruffudd Glyn) and his relationship with the others – he is an outsider as he doesn’t share their care-free attitude and has ‘real’ emotions and ‘feelings’. He lusts over his colleague Lenina (Olivia Morgan), and to impress her, takes her to the ‘Savage reserve’ on a date – a wasteland where those who do not conform to society and genetic anomalies live. While on their date they stumble across John, a savage who can talk and read, and his ‘mother’ Linda, a Beta who was left behind on a previous reservation expedition. To boost his social standing, Bernard takes John and Linda back to London and shows them off. Needless to say this story does not have a happy ending – Bernard’s need for social acceptance, Linda’s alcoholism and John’s lack of empathy for the ‘new world’ are all contributing factors to the sad end to this tale which ends in deportation and death.
Adapted by Dawn King for the stage the actors all owned and played their characters well, with several of the cast playing different roles throughout. They were all very believable however I felt that the second half of the play, overall, was slightly rushed, especially with so many strong emotive scenes taking place in such a short space of time.
The impressive semi-circular set design used a wide range of props, AV, lighting and projections to differentiate between the different locations along with the apt musical arrangement by These New Puritans – all very atmospheric and related to the clinical and somewhat dark setting of the ‘future’.
The King’s Theatre is a recently renovated, wonderful early 20th century theatre. Located in Tollcross, it has great transport links and on street parking nearby.
Overall a fabulous performance not to be missed by the Touring Consortium Theatre Company.
Tickets cost from £14 to £29.50 (booking fees may apply)
Brave New World is at the King’s Theatre in Edinburgh until 3 October 2015. For more information or to book tickets click here or call the box office on 0131 529 6000.
King’s Theatre, 2 Leven Street, Edinburgh, EH3 9LQ | 0131 529 6000