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‘1984’ at London’s Playhouse Theatre

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A friend and I went to see this amazing adaptation of the notorious George Orwell classic ‘1984’ (which I have previously reviewed on this blog) and I simply cannot fault it. The book was brought to life in a chilling, tense and haunting sense, lingering in the mind of the audience just as the book does in the mind of the reader, and causing us to ask all the right questions. The production has a limited run but I urge you to see it if you can!

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Animal Farm by George Orwell

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RATING: 4.5/5

BLURB: “Mr Jones of Manor Farm is so lazy and drunken that one day he forgets to feed his livestock. The ensuing rebellion under the leadership of the pigs Napoleon and Snowball leads to the animals taking over the farm and vowing to eliminate the terrible inequities of the farmyard –  the renamed Animal Farm is organised to benefit all who walk on four legs.”

REVIEW: I’ve been meaning to read this book for years, especially as it was handed down to me by my Dad  -who doesn’t read often, so I knew it had to be brilliant. I was right, and so was he. Orwell’s novel is a brilliant parallel of the takeover of Russia by Communism; if it wasn’t so sinister, the novel could almost be referred to as satirical. Stemming from the Bolshevik Revolution (the animals taking over the farm from Mr Jones) and illustrating frighteningly the stark horrors of living under an unequal Communist dictatorship (like the one led by Stalin), ‘Animal Farm’ is both hugely entertaining and hugely horrifying, with moments that reduced me to tears (BOXER!!!!). I don’t want to ruin this superb classic by saying too much, but I will say that the last line of this novel has to be one of my favourite of all time, second only to the last line of ‘The Great Gatsby’  – “The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which.”

 

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Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell

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RATING: 4.5/5

BLURB: “Newspeak, Doublethink, Big Brother, the Thought Police – George Orwell’s world-famous novel coined new and potent warnings for us all. Alive with Swiftian wit and passion, it is one of the most brilliant satires on totalitarianism and the power-hungry ever written.”

REVIEW: I absolutely loved this book. It’s reputation precedes it as a modern classic, and how very thankful I am that Orwell’s dark vision of the world, fuelled by fears of communism brought about by Soviet expansion after the Second World War, never came into being in 1984! We see this world, controlled by a rigid totalitarian regime where everyone is carefully monitored for signs of rebellion, through the eyes of Winston Smith, a worker in the Ministry of Truth (which actually creates propaganda material, erasing individuals and even wars from history as though they had never been) who sees through Big Brother’s regime and longs to fight against it. He seems to have met his match in co-worker Julia, and their budding relationship in the face of such extreme adversity was beautiful to read. It is hard to continue to discuss the novel without spoiling the ending – but I will say that the end of the novel shocked, horrified and angered me; possibly because it seemed so worryingly real.