A happy musical take on Orwell
This article is from 2007.
‘Perhaps a lunatic was simply a minority of one?’ So muses Winston Smith, hero of Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four, and the basis for machine-operator ‘August Eight’ in The Flying Carpet Theatre’s sci-fi adventure. Music has long since been forgotten as this whimsical tale unfolds, with August Eight beginning to experience strange sounds that no one else can hear.
Thought to be crazy by his co-workers August begins his journey of dystopian discovery, against the backdrop of a totalitarian state. The innovative mix of live sound effects, music and impeccably timed devised mechanical movements, conjures an almost joyful imagining of Fritz Lang’s Metropolis; the workers forming part of a huge and indispensable shoe-making machine. Unlike Orwell’s party members, this workforce, though oppressed, seems happy with its lot, but it’s all harmless, charming stuff, if a little childishly simplistic in parts, and leaving the maxim that a happy workforce is a productive one ringing, loud and clear. Not likely to cause a political storm but this one’s still worth a look, and more importantly, a listen.
Pleasance Dome, 556 6550, until 27 Aug (not 14), 5.20pm, £9–£10 (£7.50–£8.50).