‘A Clockwork Orange’ Seizes the Off-Broadway Stage
Alex DeLarge is Singin’ in the Rain again. This time, he’s doing it live. “A Clockwork Orange” has brought its electrifying brand of dystopian terror to New York’s off-Broadway scene. The new production, which opens on Sept. 25, is playing at the New World Stages. This new interpretation of Anthony Burgess’ classic novel combines intense physical performance with an indie-pop soundtrack, bringing the novel’s sinister charms to a 21st century audience. Much like Alex, this audience is hungry for something different.
“A Clockwork Orange” is a dramatic dance in which all the performers are men, playing both male and female roles. This seems to suit the original concept, which takes place in a British dystopia where a mob of angry young men form a sadistic group called the Droogs. They engage in extreme violence and brutality, especially towards women. Alex and his gang are eventually rehabilitated by the force of an oppressive government, but Alex never quite loses that lust for violence.
The novel was published in 1962 to great acclaim, and was later adapted by Stanley Kubrick into a 1971 Academy Award-nominated film. The film version drew plenty of controversy upon release, but also jump-started the career of Malcolm McDowell, who played Alex with devilish charm.
Alex and his sadistic band of Droogs first debuted on stage in London. That 2009 performance was envisioned by Alexandra Spencer-Jones, who directed “A Clockwork Orange” to critical acclaim. It was Spencer-Jones who envisioned the play as a spectacle fueled by the homo-erotic dance of an all-male cast. Spencer-Jones returned to direct “A Clockwork Orange” at the New World Stages, where the play continues to generate spine-tingling excitement and overall positive reviews.
Spencer-Jones previously directed a production of “Romeo and Juliet,” during which she conceived of the idea of doing a stage version of “A Clockwork Orange.” According to Spencer-Jones, if Romeo was a good guy forced to do bad, then Alex was the ultimate bad guy forced to do good. The seasoned theater director has also overseen productions of “The Merchant of Venice,” “Dracula,” “Our Lady of 121st Street,” “Rent” and numerous other classic and original stage works.
Alex is played by Jonno Davies, who debuted the character in the London production, and has returned for his first New York City theatre performance. In London, Jonno previously played lead roles in productions of “Shakespeare In Love,” “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” and “Dracula.” Jonno’s TV and film appearances include roles in “Kingsman: The Secret Service,” “Hollyoaks,” “Casualty,” and “Spotless.”
Other cast members include Jimmy Brooks as Governor, Matt Doyle as Georgie, Sean Patrick Higgins as Dim, Brian Lee Hunyn as Frank Alexander, and Misha Osherovich as Pete. Many of the actors portray multiple characters in the production.
“A Clockwork Orange” features Lighting Design by James Baggaley, Sound Design by Emma Wilk, Costume Coordination by Jennifer A. Jacob, and Original Music by Glenn Gregory and Berenice Scott. The show is produced by Glynis Henderson Productions, Martian Entertainment and Vivacity Media Group.
“A Clockwork Orange” is currently in production for a 16-week engagement. Unlike Alex DeLarge, you won’t need your eyes pried open to enjoy the show.