Brave New World: a hat trick for James Dacre

Multimedia-intense production shot from Brave New World

James Dacre has built a reputation for distinctive, innovative staging, and this new adaptation of Brave New World is no exception.

How did I miss this when I put together my autumn recommendations? James Dacre, artistic director of the Royal and Derngate, has impressed me two years running: first in 2013 directing The Thrill of Love for the New Vic, and then Cat on a Hit Tin Roof for a joint production with Northern Stage. Only problem is that my hopping from theatre company to theatre company, it’s easy to miss where he’s directing next. This time, he’s come to the north-east as a joint production with Touring Consortium Theatre Company (in this case, touring to Darlington Civic Theatre). But it doesn’t matter who the producing company is, only that he’s directing. And this time, with a new adaptation of Aldous Huxley’s classic Brave New World, his distinctive style shines through again.

Brave New World is one of of many famous stories of dystopian futures. But whilst books such as Nineteen Eighty-Four and Animal Farm had worlds that relied on crushing despotism, this was more passive and cunning method of subjugation, relying heavily on distractions and the suppression of any real emotion. Thank goodness it’s only a story, because the sinister means used include conditioning humankind to engage in meaningless casual sex, a terrifying prospect that strikes fear into the hearts of all- … okay, bad example. All right, they also subjugate humankind by banning texts that might induce too much emotion, so Shakespeare’s out the window – nope, still not getting the point across, am I? No Shakespeare, but everyone gets laid. Look, just take my word for it, it’s dystopian. Continue reading