This has got to be the sexiest production of A Clockwork Orange ever. Sex and violence are physical acts, something director Alexandra Spencer-Jones takes to a whole new level. This company of physically fit male actors are phenomenal and are the visceral energy behind this production. They are a thunderous force of nature.

To begin with, there’s an echo of West Side Story‘s balletic gang wars between the Sharks and the Jets; but very quickly you realise this is going to get a whole lot nastier. There are not enough words to describe Martin McCreadie’s performance as Alex DeLarge. His voracious need to hurt is the sharp edge to his laugh, seems to ripple through his muscles, the wild fire in his eyes. I’ve never seen a villain played like him before. This cast are like a pack of wild wolves, and have the animalistic craze in their performances which contrasts with the superb control they have over their bodies. A Clockwork Orange is challenging in a whole new way because Spencer-Jones has not just created something horrific, but beautiful.

The production itself is in monochrome – splashed with orange of course. It’s packed with slick transitions and exchanges, pirouettes and broken bones. Lewis Penfold’s choreography is elegant and sexy; he knows how to leave an impact and punctuate shock.The marriage of her direction and this script are to die for. The difficult Anglo-Russian slang of Nadsat from Anthony Burgess’ infamous novel is perfectly captured. McCreadie speaketh as if he had Shakespeare’s tongue and adds a sensuous dimension to this play. However sickening and brutish Alex is, McCreadie plays him with allure. He embraces the power contained in his body and unleashes it sporadically over an hour and twenty minutes with incredible stamina, in the confident knowledge that he is in control. Even when he has been tamed, you can see it crawling beneath his skin.

I’ll admit I’ve had a look at the book, but never read it or seen the film. Now I have to. If, like me, you’re one of the few people who don’t know A Clockwork Orange, it follows a boy, Alex DeLarge, a bored, disillusioned youth who is destructive and dangerous. After arrest he becomes the subject of a new treatment, the Ludovico technique, which should make him as good and well behaved as normal, good, little Christian boys. But not everything goes as he hoped when he leaves and he learns his lesson the hard way. The journey of this character is absolutely engaging, and the rest of the cast prove themselves to be as good at acting as they are at dancing (flawless technique, every one of them), injecting their every role with personality. Damien Hasson as the Rev too, is a more subtlety acted counterpart for Alex, pacing this relentless play.

I have to see this gorgeous, furious production again. Someone please transfer A Clockwork Orange to London!

***** – 5/5 starsĀ 

A Clockwork Orange plays at the Pleasance Courtyard until 26 August as part of the Edinburgh Festival. For more information and tickets, see the Edinburgh Fringe website.