Dr Gemma Regan
I'm a writer, arts reviewer, a scientist, a UFO researcher and a Radio host for 4ZZZ 102.1FM with my show The Witching Hour exploring the paranormal, conspiracy and the esoteric. www.4zzzfm.org.au/program/the-witching-hour
Death, Dystopia and Delinquents
The Dystopic Clockwork Orange. Photographer Gemma Regan, Brisbane Arts Theatre
No matter how busy you are this month you should make the time to see the Anthony Burgess' production of A Clockwork Orange presented by the Brisbane Arts Theatre. With a large cast of seventeen performers in the historic small theatre you are immersed in the action, but watch out for the switch blades, blood spraying and the projectile vomit!
Brisbane Arts Theatre have outdone themselves in their 1035th production of A Clockwork Orange with a gritty and confronting interpretation of Anthony Burgess' play, based on his 1962 dystopian book. The large cast have also introduced a groundbreaking twist with an alternating cast of male and female actors in the principal roles of Alex Delarge (Kenji Shimada/Melanie Bolovan) as the disillusioned and murderous fourteen year old delinquent and his Droogs: Pete (Peter Irankunda/Georgia Howie), Georgie (Willem Whitfield/Rebel Lyons) and Dim (Nathan French/Sarah McNally.)
Warning, this production is not for the faint of heart as the first twenty minutes open with a horrifically graphic rape scene, followed by the murder of a dear old granny - choreographed by Justin Palazzo-Orr. Blood spurts and screams cry out as the crazed juvenile delinquent, Alex, leads his violent gang of Droogs to terrorise, steal and rape syncopated to the strident music of Beethoven (Music Director Faron Swingler). Despite the horror of the audience being in close proximity to such violence, the execution as the gang revels in their crime was wonderful, utilising a slowed down version of slashing and destruction to the beat of Ode to Joy.
Finally, Alex is imprisoned and then his own personal horror begins. He is enrolled to be the guinea pig for the Ludovico technique which uses a combination of drugs and Pavlovian programming whilst exposing the participant to the graphic savage brutality of humanity. The doctor, played brilliantly by Lisa Hickey was herself immune to such violence and relished reprogramming the now distraught young Alex. He is released as a shell of a boy, all will removed from him after two years imprisoned for murder, to find his Droogs have shunned him to become part of the corrupt state and his mother has replaced him with a lodger. Does the State have the right to punish and correct Alex through brain washing?
The Ludovico technique
Burgess' A Clockwork Orange is a study of the importance of will versus the control of individuals for the collective good of society. Is the moral decay of the innocent juveniles a reflection of the equal corrupt state, and should the individual be punished for their crimes through a loss of themselves.
Costume Designer Francesca Walker has the Droogs dressed in vests and braces and with their own Droogie patois, the portrayal of street gangs is frighteningly similar to the gangs of America today.
Dark humour is peppered throughout the play to allow the audience a release of tension, provided by Liam Donnelly as the drunken vicar and Liam McDonell as the corrupt head of the prison. Both Liams have a commanding comical poise as they converse with the audience and cast.
Whether you have read the book, seen Stanley Kubrick's 1971 cult movie or have never heard of A Clockwork Orange you cannot miss the opportunity to see this graphic and effulgent production; maybe just don't take the kids.