Based on George Orwell”s classic novel and choreographed by former Royal Ballet dancer Jonathan Watkins, 1984 proves that the time- transcending themes of the original 1949 novel are totally relevant for today’s audiences in this dynamic, thought provoking and hugely impressive production.
Living in a world of absolute conformity, Ministry of Truth worker Winston Smith (Tobias Batley) conducts every part of his routine life under the watchful eye of Big Brother, until he stumbles upon a backstreet junk shop where he finds a blank book and from here decides to keep a secret diary documenting his rebellious thoughts and feelings. Whilst continuing to document his disillusionment he receives a love note from fellow employee Julia (Martha Leebolt) and the two begin a dangerous but exhilarating love affair.
Inspired after reading Orwell’s masterpiece at the age of 15, Choreographer Jonathan Watkins hopes the ballet raises questions for the audience to take away with them and reflect on the times in which we are living now, 1984 without doubt succeeds in this. The superb staging online casino with the intrusive and looming glare of big brother staring out from screens all around creates an oppressive feeling of being watched, escaping this scrutiny seems near impossible, not too far removed from our own modern day CCTV. Design team Simon Daw, Chris Davey and Andrzej Goulding really have created something special here. Add to this the perfect score from Tony nominated LIPA graduate Alex Baranowski, expertly delivered by The Northern Ballet Sinfonia and conducted by Nathan Fifield.
Huge congratulations goes to each and every member of the company, with special praise going to the outstanding Tobias Batley as Winston Smith and Martha Leebolt as Julia who were both superb. Their climactic performance towards the end of Act I was sensational, dramatic, sensual and utterly brilliant. The contrast between the passion and tenderness of our two Principles when they are away from the glare of Big Brother and the Ministry of Truth employees is vast, robotic, mechanical and cold, their misery is real. Northern Ballet absolutely delivers everything you would hope for from this innovative production making it an absolute must-see show.
Wednesday 14th October – Saturday 17th October