Theatre in Wales

Theatre, dance and performance reviews

Gender-bending Clockwork Orange fails to pose question

A Clockwork Orange

Snap Theatre , Aberystwyth Arts Centre , February 17, 2003
LITTLE ALEX and the Droogs are not Malenky young Malchicks, but Devotchkas. That's right, all the characters are girls.

Having made this radical decision, director Dianne Hancock might have considered how girls with Alex's conditioning might act in this context.

Might angry young women commit rape? And might society actually en-courage them to do so?

We never find out, however, as Hancock frustratingly cuts out all references to sex, desire or sexual violence.

Furthermore, her changes disturb the narrative flow, emotionally cauterise the story and reek of (self-) censorship.

In this dramatisation, "ultraviolence" means only hitting with sticks, usually in slow motion, or feebly waving pen-knives. Bizarrely, no character has any kind of sexual relationship.

As Alex, Cathy Ryan occasionally displays some acting skill but is hampered by uninspired music-video dancing, amateurish and logic-defying fight choreography, tedious scene changes, a plodding, didactic adaptation and a uniformly weak and under-challenged supporting cast.

I left the theatre wondering not, "which questions do the authorities of author Anthony Burgess's dystopia fear to answer?" but rather, "Which questions does this director fear to ask?" A Clockwork Orange tours to Swan-sea Grand Theatre from March 6 to 8, to the Torch Theatre in Milford Haven on March 19 and Theatr Gwynedd in Bangor on May 2 and 3.

Reviewed by: Rebecca Nesvet

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