NINETEEN EIGHTY-FOUR, by George Orwell, adapted by director Rebecca Vines, finally got off the ground this week after snowy-delays. Director of Drama, Lloyd Allington, reviewed this unforgettable play.

Last night we entered the dystopian and frightening world that Rebecca Vines had created in the Bacon Theatre. The audience were assaulted by alarming projections, surround-sound announcements and soon discovered that we could not even trust the people sitting next to us. Dreadfully, we felt almost compelled to join in the Two Minutes’ Hate. Terrifying theatre! Rebecca Vines’ concept included a stark, bare stage, played largely in front of a gigantic telescreen – which only lifted to reveal a shocking white, hospital-clinical world of torture and mind-manipulation. Orlando Giannini in the main role of Winston Smith, gave a vulnerable and nervy performance – likeable, but also edgy and somehow different from all his fellow workers. His nemesis, O’Brien, played by Max Thomas, was cucumber-cool and icy – with faux-warmth when seducing Winston to betray himself. As ever a subtle performance from this young man. Julia was played with wonderful duality by Maddie Dunn – hardened party-member giving way to abandoned love in a flash. Some excellent choric performances in superb well-drilled slow motion sequences complemented this very fine interpretation: highly skilled and the best of Dean Close drama.