1984

Theatre

Off-West End

Playhouse Theatre

Until Sat Aug 23

  • © Manuel Harlan

    Sam Crane

  • © Manuel Harlan

    Stephen Fewell

  • © Manuel Harlan

    Christopher Patrick Nolan

  • © Manuel Harlan

  • © Manuel Harlan

    Hara Yannas (Julia)

  • © Manuel Harlan

    Tim Dutton (O'Brien) and Mark Arends (Winston Smith)

  • © Tristram Kenton

  • © Tristram Kenton

    Christopher Patrick Nolan, Richard Bremmer, Harra Yannas, Tim Dutton & Mark Arends

  • © Tristram Kenton

    Mark Arends (Winston)

  • © Tristram Kenton

    Mark Arends (Winston) & Hara Yannas (Julia)

  • © Tristram Kenton

    Stephen Fewell, Tim Dutton, Mark Arends, Matthew Spencer & Mandi Symonds

  • © Tristram Kenton

    Stephen Fewell (Charrington)

  • © Tristram Kenton

    Matthew Spencer (Syme), Mark Arends (Winston) & Mandi Symonds (Mrs Parsons)

  • © Tristram Kenton

    Mark Arends (Winston) & Hara Yannas (Julia)

© Manuel Harlan

Sam Crane

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Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:7
  • 4 star:7
  • 3 star:2
  • 2 star:2
  • 1 star:2
LiveReviews|20
5 people listening
Mike G
1 of 1 found helpful

UTTERLY DIRE


The five star reviews, the fulsome praise, the Olivier nominations … all of them convinced me that this show would be a very different kind of theatrical experience. Unfortunately, it wasn’t.


“1984” is a thoroughly limp and sad little offering: mannered, wooden, pompous, self-conscious, unoriginal and utterly unengaging, with a bunch of actors united in their lack of talent, in their  technical incompetence and in their inability to deliver a believable line. The woefully useless performer playing Winston Smith was, in particular, an acute embarrassment. Was he the third understudy or the box office intern? We can only guess. 


This is a production which clearly thinks far too much of itself, its cleverness, its – oh, I don’t know, its daring? Its radical re-imagining of a literary classic? Is this what the director, cast and producer thought they had created? Really? Truly? My God.


What a dismal, dismal, dismal state of affairs. Imagine a 1st year production by the “C” stream at a fourth-rate drama college directed by a PE teacher seconded from the local primary school. You’re probably imaging a piece of work 10x better than this thoroughly abysmal experience.


We hung on like grim death for an hour, in the wan hope that this show and its cast of no-hopers, has-beens and never-will-bes would somehow salvage itself and arouse some vague interest, or forge some mild emotional connection, or half-impress us in some way. It stubbornly refused to do so. In truth, from the very first fruitily over-enunciated actorish line, we both had a horrible sinking feeling: this would not work out the way we had fondly imagined. We were on a hiding to nothing.


You can have your intelligence insulted by Big Brother at The Playhouse, or on Channel 5. They're both as bad as each other, but at least it doesn't cost £39 a ticket on Channel 5.



Bella M
1 of 1 found helpful

Just awful. First half I kept dozing off it was such a bore that made no sense what so ever. Then when it got loud and violent I stayed awake and still was confused and bored withe tbire concept. No idea what play was about. Very graphic.

DLondon
1 of 1 found helpful

Tries to be very clever, but fails at many of the basics in the process. Underpowered performances, lacklustre direction and a messy script.

Colin
1 of 1 found helpful

A dreadful mess. Confused, sensationalist and pretentious, The only good thing was it made me want to have a look at the book again. In fact, before long I was wishing I was curled up at home reading it rather than watching this clunking production.

Jamie C

You'd have to be a real ignoramus, or perhaps a member of the inner party itself, not to acknowledge what a brilliant play this is. A simply stunning, thought provoking and intelligent piece of theatre.

Alexandra C

Extremely intense and thought provoking. I especially enjoyed the harshness and gore of room 101. If you are partial to a good surreal thriller I suggest you go and indulge in 1984

Leanne B

Not sure where all these 5 star reviews are coming from. Acting was quite uninspiring and the cleverness of the interpretation was in fact lost on me until later in the performance. I thought I could see what they were trying to do but it wasn't done well enough, which meant I spent the first 20 minutes saying "erm ... What?" . So-so, and it did get better as it went on. But a long way from 5 stars.

benji b

Never read the book, thought it was tedious, boring and confusing at parts. Well staged and acted but if you haven't read the book you will find it hard to understand what is going on.

Melanie R
0 of 1 found helpful

amazing play, well worth seeing! i had read the book, boyfriend hadn't we both loved it.


venue was a bit crappy though. huge queues for everything before the performance (to get tickets, bar, toilets), restricted view from the upper circle (which is doesn't tell you) and there is no re admittance to the auditorium if you go out e.g. to pee, so my other half got stuck outside for the last 30 minutes! there isn't an interval either so get there very early and have a strong bladder!

cath_hope
0 of 1 found helpful

Incredibly intense, and a stunning sensory experience. Standout performances from Sam Crane and Tim Dutton. Watch it and weep.

david d
0 of 1 found helpful

Picked up a day ticket for a tenner, front row. Fantastically staged, weird no doubt, but great acting and very in your face, and thank god no singing!

Martin C
0 of 1 found helpful

Still brilliant and better than at the Almeida. Sam Crane is a fantastic Winston, where the bloke they had before felt a bit mechanical. A life changing evening of theatre. 

The Man on the Street
0 of 1 found helpful

Got out of the theatre this evening and rang my 18 year old son to tell him to see this show. Its 101 minutes with no interval. Its gripping, thought provoking, visually stunning and (for me at least) so much better than most shows in town. 

0 of 1 found helpful

Good adaptation of a difficult book to deliver on the stage, which ultimately transfers well (2 minutes hate and Room 101 in particular). The lighting and the sound create the atmosphere needed. Don't need to have read the book to enjoy it. Recommended. 


N.B Upper circle tickets are slightly restricted view, with the screen cut off slightly. This doesn't have much of an impact though, as the stage is still in full view.

Joanne
0 of 1 found helpful

Possibly one of the best plays I have seen in London. Loved the staging, the acting, the story.

Kate Janoskova
0 of 1 found helpful

Have you read 1984? I bet you have, but if you can find someone who hasn't, I'd like to know what they thought about the play. Of course, you know what is in room 101, but that doesn't make it any less terrifying, especially when *spoilers* Winston makes a plea to the audience to help him. *end of spoilers*. The two minutes hate is as powerful as anything I have seen on stage. Excellent production, maybe a tad bit slow going at the beginning, but that is not diminishing to how it hopeless and futile it makes you feel by the time the last words are spoken.