This past Wednesday, I had the opportunity to see the recently opened off-Broadway play, “A Clockwork Orange,” at New World Stages in Manhattan. The show recently came to New York City after its sold-out run in London. People had extremely high expectations, which is understandable because “A Clockwork Orange” is also a popular book and film.
The dystopian world that Anthony Burgess wrote about in the original book in 1962 is eerily similar to today’s society. It focuses on themes of crime, surveillance and murder – all of which are explored through intense action and choreography.
Luckily I had researched some background prior to attending the show, though I had never seen the film or read the book. A lot of what was said by the actors would have flown over my head if I hadn’t known the context of what was going on.
The basic premise of the show is how these teenage boys in present-day England, who call themselves “Droogs,” murder people for entertainment. They seem to be heartless and cruel, until the head of the group Alex, played by Jonno Davies, gets caught and thrown in jail. While in jail, he finds out that the government is going to do their best to brainwash the violence out of him.
It was an all-male cast, but for good reason. In an interview posted on the A Clockwork Orange Play Instagram account, the director of the play Alexandra Spencer-Jones said that the book “dehumanizes women” and portrays them as “faceless.” Throughout the show, the actors would dress in an array of orange garments to make it clear when they were portraying women.
Most of the actors had multiple parts. The only character that was on his own was Alex, the head Droog. Davies’ performance as Alex was flawless. I had goosebumps and was on the edge of my seat because of his intensity and the way he spoke, and sometimes screamed, his lines.
As for the other actors, they smoothly transitioned between roles. For the most part, I could easily see that they were in a whole new headspace. One of my favorite Broadway actors, Matt Doyle, had various roles, including his character Georgie, each of which I could see a clear difference between.
The atmosphere of the show was spooky and dark, but it also had a decent amount of laughable moments, which surprised me in a good way. And as I mentioned before, the dancing and music enhanced not only the plot but the overall thrill that the audience feels while watching. The soundtrack includes different genres, many of which are songs most people would recognize.
I strongly recommend seeing the production of “A Clockwork Orange” off-Broadway because it is different than any other theatre experience. It’s sure to leave audience members wanting more.
For tickets to the show, contact The New World Stages box office at 212-239-6200 for tickets, or visit aclockworkorangeplay.com.