Dangerous Visions 2016: Review: Brave New World Part 2

Brave New World castBy Aldous Huxley, adapted by Jonathan Holloway

BBC Radio 4, May 29, iPlayer link here

John “Savage” finds that human society is lacking in many key aspects…

This second half of Jonathan Holloway’s adaptation of Huxley’s classic isn’t perhaps as lecturing to the twenty-first century audience as its predecessor – I did find the blunt message that Heimholtz Watson, the narrator of this version, delivers at the start of the whole play to be rather off-putting – and many of the key developments from the book are unchanged. Those who know Huxley’s original will note that the fates of a number of the characters differ in this, and there’s an intriguing alteration to the place in which John ends up which affects how you view the final scenes quite considerably. Those changes, however, are superficial in many ways: the two-hour version gets across the moral blankness of the future society extremely effectively.

Director David Hunter has assembled a strong cast for the play: Anton Lesser as The Director is the star name, but, particularly in the second half, doesn’t have that much to do. A lot of the weight of the play’s credibility falls on the shoulders of Milton Lopes as John – his reactions have to feel genuine, and they do. Karina Fernandez’s Linda is also hauntingly good.

Verdict: A strong version of a very Dangerous Vision. 8/10

Paul Simpson

 

Click here for our interview with adapter Jonathan Holloway

 

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