Arts & Entertainment

1984! The Musical!

Presented for the first time globally, 1984! The Musical! will premiere this January at New Theatre in Newtown. This newly written work adapts the dystopic world of Orwell’s novel 1984 and presents it in a whole new musical form with dark comedy, song and dance. 

Written by Diana Reid and Tom Davidson McLeod, the production is possibly the first comedic adaptation of Orwell’s novel. Tailored for modern audiences, 1984! The Musical! features a mostly female cast and is adapted to reflect today’s political and social climate. 

Writer Diana Reid shared the tone that herself and co-writer Tom Davidson McLeod were going for when writing the piece saying, “the joke is very much in the disjuncture between the dystopic world that the characters experience and then the fact they sort of have to sing and dance through it.” 

The mostly female cast was a specific creative choice. 

“Having most of the cast consisting of female actors sort of came about organically as we were re-reading the book… I noticed that the main female character in the book, Julia, is sort of a very 1940s heroin. We then took it upon ourselves to take the opportunity to make the text appeal to modern audiences. We’ve cross cast a few of the male characters in the book that we felt didn’t necessarily need to be male.”

Diana is keen to present 1984! The Musical! to Sydney audiences for the first time, saying: “I think that our main aim is that audiences find a renewed passion for 1984 and a renewed understanding of the potency of the messages in the book. I think the beauty of doing it as a comedy, it makes something that is often filled with dread and delivers it in a palatable way.”

Until Jan 25. New Theatre, 542 King Street, Newtown. $20-$30+b.f. Tickets & Info: www.newtheatre.org.au

By Madison Behringer

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