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His mother's diary from 1905 describes a lively round of social activity and artistic interests.

Before the First World War, the family moved to Shiplake, Oxfordshire where Eric became friendly with the Buddicom family, especially their daughter Jacintha.

I fear there will never be a time when Orwell's dystopian nightmare won't resonate and, sadly, in this post-Brexit, post-Snowden, post-Manning world of ours, it's impossible not to see warnings in its themes of constant surveillance, unchecked power of the elites, dominant single socio-economic ideology, media manipulation turning fiction into facts, and withering punishment of any dissenting voices. (Interestingly, in the interim, theatrical staging seems to have steered more towards a minimalistic style a la Ivo van Hove rather than a visual feast.) But for all the power in the visual presentation, my reservations on the substance of the production remain.

But there is no way this is a depressing show as Robert Icke and Duncan Macmillan collaborated to create an electric production that hurtles through its 101 minute running time. I saw this play when it first opened at the Almeida back in 2014 and it has lost none of its fervour, and its radical approach genuinely seems as fresh as ever.

To them, the book 1984 is a historical record written by an unidentified person who bore witness to a dark time in their history.

Perhaps this was considered a clever spin but, for me, it creates a few problems.

This is the most sensible and systematic interpretation of George Orwell’s books that I have ever read.

There is no Ministry of Truth distributing and policing information, and in a way everyone is Big Brother.better known by his pen name George Orwell, was an English novelist, essayist, journalist, and critic.His work is marked by lucid prose, awareness of social injustice, opposition to totalitarianism, and outspoken support of democratic socialism.Principally, Winston Smith (Andrew Gower) is relegated to a passive protagonist.Rather than watching him seize the day directly, we have to watch him through the prism of this book club.Orwell's work continues to influence popular and political culture, and the term Orwellian – descriptive of totalitarian or authoritarian social practices – has entered the language together with many of his neologisms, including cold war, Big Brother, Thought Police, Room 101, memory hole, newspeak, doublethink, and thoughtcrime.His great-grandfather Charles Blair was a wealthy country gentleman in Dorset who married Lady Mary Fane, daughter of the Earl of Westmorland, and had income as an absentee landlord of plantations in Jamaica.Witness his claim in an article of 1940 that if he thought a victory in the present war would mean a new lease of life for British imperialism, he would be inclined to ‘side with Russia and Germany’.Even given Orwell’s love of striking attitudes, there is something more than perverse about claiming that you would rather have the world run by the Third Reich and Stalin than by the comparatively benign Indian civil service.There has been a nuclear exchange, and the blocs seem to have agreed to perpetual conventional war, probably because constant warfare serves their shared interests in domestic control. It is a police state, with helicopters monitoring people's activities, even watching through their windows.But Orwell emphasizes it is the 'Think Pol,' the Thought Police, who really monitor the 'Proles,' the lowest 85 percent of the population outside the party elite.


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