Powerful Playhouse production is just as impressive the second time around

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1984, George Orwell’s famous novel, has retained its grip on the public imagination since it was first published 66 years ago.

The story of Winston Smith, Julia, O’Brien, thoughtcrime, doublespeak, Big Brother, Two Minutes’Hate, The Ministry of Truth and Room 101 is familiar - perhaps over-familiar.

So when I first went to Nottingham Playhouse two years ago to see this co-production with Headlong of Robert Icke and Duncan MacMillan’s new stage adaptation, I was concerned the story might not retain its freshness and power.

How wrong I was. It was a stunning piece of work, performed as a 100-minute whole with no interval, a triumph for all concerned.

And now, after two tours, two West End runs and much acclaim, the award-winning production is back, and it’s still a highly impressive achievement, just as good as it was before.

It’s an almost perfect blend of script, acting, stage design, lighting, sound design and film, with the last half hour in particular being a theatrical tour-de-force.

Matthew Spencer as the hapless Winston and Tim Dutton as his impassioned torturer O’Brien are particularly good among the eight-strong cast.

1984 is at Nottingham Playhouse until September 26 before embarking on a UK tour and then world tour. Don’t miss it.

Call 0115 9419419 for ticket details.