(Lyn Gardner's article appeared in the Guardian, 9/22.)

The Party plays plenty of mind games in George Orwell's novel about a world ruled by the all-seeing Big Brother, where love is forbidden, history erased and language twisted. Robert Icke and Duncan Macmillan, co-creators of this stage version, are not afraid of playing a few of their own in their pitilessly brilliant retelling of the doomed love affair between Winston and Julia.

Drawing on Orwell's crucial appendix entitled "The Principles of Newspeak", which follows the apparent end of the narrative, the show places past, present and future in constant dialogue. At times it feels like a vision of tomorrow, and at others like something half-remembered. Chloe Lamford's clever design offers the retro alongside the futuristic; the figure of a small child is frequently glimpsed, sometimes a sinister Midwich-Cuckoo presence, and at others a symbol of the hope Winston places in the children of the future. A snatch of the rhyme Oranges and Lemons is heard in various forms, from a hum to a ringtone.


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