Part 4 of my #1984 review.
Some more thoughts on the play itself.
I really liked all the actors. There was not one where I felt like they are the “weakest link”. Especially Angus Wright as O’Brien was terrifying (and I was rather shocked to see him in Hamlet again where he definitely _was_ the weakest link as Claudius). Catrin Stewart was Julia and I’m still horrified that I didn’t recogize her from Doctor Who. I think I even read in the programme that she was in Doctor Who but I didn’t figure out who she played until much much later. And Jenny is even one of my favourite characters!
I can only blame Andrew for this and take it as a first sign that my brain simply stops functioning when he’s around.
Maybe I only thought all the other actors were fantastic because my eyes were glued to Andrew the entire play anyway. Which was a good thing because it meant I didn’t miss the brief moment, he changed clothes on stage. Mhmm… shirtless Andrew.
After that part, and when we entered the climax of the play in Room 101, it became really hard to watch.
I went to see the play again on my last night in London, and that was the point (and actually the first time I’ve ever considered doing it during a play) that I felt like getting up and leaving because watching Andrew being brutally tortured, was really difficult to do. The first time around, I was blissfully ignorant about what would happen and was accordingly shocked when he was repeatedly electrocuted, his teeth and fingernails pulled out, beaten ad his face eaten by rats (or almost). My mantra “Andrew is fine, it’s only acting” only half worked and I also thought even if it is only acting, I can’t imagine having to go through this 8 times a week!
(Just a side note: I saw Yerma 3 days later which was quite a step up from 1984 in the depressing and cruelty department, so 1984 proved to be a nice preparation for it and Tania and I felt utterly depressed and devasted afterwards. What a combination of plays to see in 1 weekend!)
Despite all the torture scenes and the generally depressing theme of the play – I mean the novel was written in the late 1940s but it’s scary topical, there was more than one scene where Tania and I felt like this was something happening right now – I would love if there was a recording of the play as I would love to see it again. I ended up seeing it twice and I bought the script (which was later signed by our Mr Gower) and I love reading single scenes from it and remember the scene on stage.