REVIEW: 1984, Connaught Theatre, Worthing

O'Brien (Owen Lindsay) and Winston (Jack Cosgrove) at the Ministry of Love
O'Brien (Owen Lindsay) and Winston (Jack Cosgrove) at the Ministry of Love

BRUTAL, unforgiving and thought-provoking, Sell a Door Theatre Company’s production of 1984 stunned the audience into silence.

We were almost too scared to move as the dramatic torture scenes from George Orwell’s novel played out at the Connaught Theatre, Worthing, on Saturday.

It was a brave production that was not afraid to go the extra mile, including nudity to add another powerful dimension.

Big Brother and Room 101 have become more comedic these days, thanks to reality TV, but there was nothing funny about this production, highlighting the futility of trying to beat the system.

Even though we knew the ending, we were rooting for Winston Smith as he found love and inevitably lost it again once the authorities caught up with him.

The production retained much of the detail of the worst of the horrors Winston has to face, which take up most of the second half.

There’s no doubt Orwell’s pessimistic vision was played out to the last and some clever slow motion was used at times to add impact.

Owen Lindsay stood ought as O’Brien, relentless in his pursuit of Winston’s mind.

Jack Cosgrove was more vulnerable as Winston and Lily Knight explored her character well.