A Clockwork Orange


Action to the Word’s Anthony Burgess’s A Clockwork Orange

Les Currie & GHP

QPAC Cremorne

28th May – 8th June 2013


Reviewed by Meg Ham


I entered QPAC’s Cremorne Theatre with a sense of nervous anticipation. A Clockwork Orange is one of my favourite pieces of literature and I didn’t know what to expect from a stage adaptation. Having never heard of Action To The Word Theatre Company, I was feeling sceptical. As we took our seats, I noticed some kind of mash up of Skrillex and Beethoven was being played for the preshow. My nervousness increased. As the lights dimmed I took a breath and thought, “please don’t let it be awful”.


My fears were quickly quelled. As the all-male cast revealed themselves, I felt reassured. There was no fear on stage. The cast were strong, focused and dedicated. They invited the audience inside their crooked world and taught us what it meant to be a Droog, a Bratty.


A Clockwork Orange

Martin McCreadie plays Alex De Large, the devilish protagonist. Except he did not play him, he embodied him. McCreadie has surrendered himself to Alex; a highly intelligent character who thirsts for UltraViolence with terrifying indifference and glee. After being imprisoned for two years for his severe crimes, he undergoes an experimental treatment (Ludovico Technique) and becomes a “new man”. The method is essentially a brainwashing technique that rewires Alex’s mind to associate any form of violence with his own personal nausea, thus preventing him from incurring any more grievances against The State.  After two weeks, he is released a changed member of society, but is also left defenceless against a community who is now out to exploit him for political gain.
McCreadie extends a hand to the audience and makes sense of the method behind Alex’s madness. He is so absorbed and natural within the character that you forget he is insane, almost justifying his actions.


It was truly one of the most enthralling performances I have ever seen from a man.

A Clockwork Orange

The rest of the cast are not to be put aside, with the blatantly gorgeous direction and choreography of Alexandra Spencer-Jones, they pull together a stellar performance. The fact that it is an all-male cast means that there were some potentially homosexual themes, but they were not imposing. As Ms Spencer-Jones says in her director’s notes, “the piece isn’t “gay” or “straight” – we stay entirely truthful to the novel, they’re just sometimes boys instead of girls.” It was not a choice made for shock value, but for narrative value. A quality to the show I greatly appreciated.


The set and lighting were both simplistic but striking. They highlight the actors and the story without taking away. The ingenious use of movement and music within the script is so seamless that it becomes an extra character in the story, a jarring contrast of Beethoven and Pop with violent yet elegant physical pieces to tie the scene changes and storyline together. I was astounded with how the cast would throw themselves into those group moments. For the most part, their application of emotion to physicality was not overdone; they simply honoured the story without over acting or imposing arrogance upon the script.


A Clockwork Orange

Overall I was more than delighted with the performance. It is so inspiring to see performers do a story justice, without making it about themselves.
What is more exciting than that though, is that this show is in Brisbane. This show, which is so excellently passionate and professional, is coming through Brisbane on its world tour. It is exciting to me, that more and more we are cultivating our own name in the arts. Developing our own tastes. And slowly but surely we are seeing more and more internationally acclaimed theatre come through, which in turn will contribute to the quality that we produce.


Make sure you go and see this raw and inspiring piece while it’s here. I will never forget it, and neither will you.



1 Response to “A Clockwork Orange”

  1. June 4, 2013 at 11:29 am

    An excellent review…couldn’t agree more. I saw the Saturday matinee, just marvellous.

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