George Orwell’s “1984” returned to the best-seller lists earlier this year on the eve of Donald Trump’s inauguration as president of the United States. But Robert Icke and Duncan MacMillan’s new stage adaptation, first staged in the U.K. in 2013 and opening on Broadway Thursday, remains joltingly timely even without a direct nod to current events. (And no, this production’s Big Brother does not wear a blond wig.)
Icke and MacMillan, who also direct, take a somewhat unorthodox, postmodern approach to Orwell’s story, framing it around a discussion of the authenticity of the text itself. This seems to be lifted from the novel’s appendix about Newspeak, the language of the totalitarian state of Oceania. Is our hero Winston’s account of Oceania’s duplicitous origins and the rebel movement to upend it real? Or the product of a deranged mind?
To be honest, this meta approach makes the production a bit of a slog at first, weighed down by the confusion over the set-up and some overly repetitive scenes. Read my full review at TheWrap.