Closed 1h 30m
A Clockwork Orange (New World Stages)
Midtown W
69

A Clockwork Orange (New World Stages) NYC Reviews and Tickets

69%
(241 Reviews)
Positive
58%
Mixed
30%
Negative
12%
Members say
Edgy, Confusing, Intense, Ambitious, Disappointing

About the Show

Director Alexandra Spencer-Jones’ adaptation of Anthony Burgess’ landmark 1962 novel comes from London to New World Stages with its original star Jonno Davies as Alex.

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Member Reviews (241)

60
Dated, Disappointing, Fluffy, Insipid, Overrated

See it if if you liked the movie, I do not think you will like this adaptation, it missed the mark, very slow, not what the movie was like.

Don't see it if very slow not like the movie, not even close to the movie. I should have had an adaption that resembled the edginess of the movie.

83
Ambitious, Riveting, Intense, Entertaining, Unconventional

See it if you want to see an intense, fast-paced, imaginative, highly stylized, well-choreographed staging of Burgess' groundbreaking dystopian novel.

Don't see it if you'll be disturbed by the violence & harsh language of the British gangs and the disturbing treatment of the protagonist by the authorities

Critic Reviews (48)

September 29th, 2017

"Vigorously acted and bluntly entertaining...I’d like to think that the steroidal bodies and all-purpose sexiness are intended as a deliberate distraction, a gotcha embellishment meant to implicate the audience for failing to reckon with the full horror of Alex’s actions. But Ms. Spencer-Jones doesn’t deliver on such high-minded intentions. The violence never lets up, but as it’s set to synth-heavy Beethoven riffs, it also never lands."
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September 25th, 2017

"For those who do not hanker for Chippendales studs doing dance-rapes—quick, can we have a moratorium on dance-rapes?—this 'Orange' is rancid and confused, another sad example of an adaptation missing the point of its source material...Spencer-Jones' attempt at a super-dark, sexy-wexy production is about as frightening as an Abercrombie & Fitch ad, with a similar quantity of hard posing...Look away, or risk being turned off of theater forever."
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September 25th, 2017

"Spencer-Jones has envisioned an athletic, highly choreographed world...The result is to render all this violence shockingly un-shocking...There’s something overly sleek, almost glib about the choreography...The gloss and presentational tone turn the story’s danger intellectual rather than visceral...The play owes a present-day audience a bit more than some rock-and-roll choreography and a fallback on 'freedom of choice' as the issue at the heart of the piece."
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September 25th, 2017

"For those not familiar with the book or film, this production will often prove incomprehensible...It relates the story in broad, abstract strokes, relying so much on stylized choreographed movement that it often resembles modern dance. The result is that the brutal violence...doesn't have much visceral impact...The sheer energy of the performers as they go through their strenuous paces must be admired."
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September 25th, 2017

"Crackles with kinetic energy, punctuated by precise choreographed sequences...The ultraviolence depicted on stage is stylized and set to fun music...The violence here is artfully composed and provides ample shock-horror, but without any emotional weight...This is a play that will raise your heart rate, but it left me uncertain whether it was celebrating or criticizing the testosterone-frenzy it depicts. As a satire, I’m not entirely sure it succeeded, but it gave me plenty to talk about."
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September 25th, 2017

"The production is like a dad bod. Stylish, sure. Intimidating, not so much. And it should be....At its best, Alexandra Spencer-Jones’ all-male vision has energy to burn as it plays out on a spare black stage to a loud, nearly wall-to-wall score of original music and pop covers. But so much emphasis on choreographed movement backfires as it gets repetitive and muddies storytelling. Even violent acts, like one with a broken bottle, emerge like something out of Looney Tunes."
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September 25th, 2017

"Makes a powerful statement, though it falls just short of a knockout...Director Alexandra Spencer-Jones created a language of savagery in this stripped-down, stylized production that's as engrossing as it is disturbing...But after the initial shock of brutality, the rest of the play fails to produce the same heightened impact. And while the message is clear, the work lacks the emotional punch in the gut that Burgess intended."
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September 25th, 2017

"For 90 fast-paced minutes, this sexy, heart-pounding production never fails to entertain...With nine actors playing three dozen characters, Spencer-Jones directs the play with just enough detail to capture the story's big ideas. Provocative as those ideas are, however, the story often takes a back seat to other elements of the production, such as the chiseled, bare-chested actors...The highly stylized choreography tamps down the viciousness. But that's not a bad thing."
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October 3rd, 2017

"An erotic word ballet that finds beauty in the well-chiseled male form through highly stylized acts of choreographed violence...What any of it has to do with Burgess' classic dystopian novel is anyone's guess...The charismatic Davies admirably throws himself into the physically and emotionally demanding role...But...the production limply trudges through its overwhelmed emotional dramatics...Having a unique vision is great, but not when it's done at the expense of the text."
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September 26th, 2017

"Amounts to a ninety-minute howl of rage; meant to electrify, more often it induces fatigue...The characters are purposely two-dimensional, performed on the far edge of caricature...As in the film, all of Spencer-Jones' diligent -- and often effective -- work obscures the fact that Burgess was concerned with matters philosophical...One can admire the skill and commitment of all involved while simultaneously wishing that they would stop so furiously pressing their case."
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September 27th, 2017

“A revisionist look at the classic Anthony Burgess novel from 1962, the stage version of ‘A Clockwork Orange’ may throw you for a loop in more than one way. With its emphasis on choreographed movements and highly stylized acrobatics, the production--a British import--becomes more of a performance piece than a play. But the story of Alex and his ‘droog’ comrades in violence is still there--even if it's something less than front and center.”
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September 25th, 2017

"It’s all very loud with primal screaming and distorted grumbling, sometimes difficult to understand the actual words, but easy enough to get the meaning of all the simulations...This is a high-energy production of fine actors. However, if you’re prone to closing your eyes in such circumstances as described, better not even bother attempting to be in the audience. Not for the faint of heart!"
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September 26th, 2017

"Winds up being visually spectacular while failing to satisfy as drama. The dance and movement are delicately staged and impressively executed...Despite Davies' commanding presence, he never quite achieves the balance of eliciting sympathy and revulsion that has made the character so iconic...While the physical performances are impressive, they also fail to convey the fully troublesome nature of the world that Burgess created...A missed opportunity."
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September 26th, 2017

"Intense and erotic...Marvelously choreographed...It all happens in race-against-the-clock speed, packing the story into 90 minutes on an intimate stage with an ensemble of excellent actors playing multiple characters...Not only is the cast made up of excellent actors, but their physical bodies are ripped and cut unbelievably...Truly, the beatings and rapes, though choreographed, are still extremely graphic and disturbing."
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October 2nd, 2017

“Casual observers of the play can marvel at the sinewy, shirtless, Lego-abdominal wonder of it all. But at times, it is their exuberant buoyancy that challenges the notion of whether this version of droog mishaps should necessarily be avoided on a dark night…At its very best, 'A Clockwork Orange' shows us the jubilance in ferociousness…The physical precision executed here is inventive and impressive.”
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September 25th, 2017

"Has the slickness and the eroticism that generally helps fill the seats, but oddly feels a bit more shallow and a tad less emotionally connecting. There is definitely a strong precise vision of how to tell this complicated and violent story through the impressive and athletic choreography and stagecraft, and that aspect works majestically...The production is loud and exciting, glossy and sharp, sure to attract the crowds it deserves...This play leaves you titillated but emotionally disengaged."
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October 4th, 2017

“Alexandra Spencer-Jones’s staging slices deeply into the human psyche…Ms. Spencer-Jones’s creation is an accurate telling of the novel energized by the athletic dance movement and athleticism of the ensemble cast…Under her precise and inventive direction, the ensemble cast of ‘misfits’ and ‘miscreants’ deliver uniformly authentic performances…A theatre piece that scrapes away at the stolid underbelly of American morality with surgical precision and a merciless zeal to heal.”
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October 3rd, 2017

“Davies anchors the piece with maniacal precision and vulnerability...He and his equally sexually charged all-male ensemble deftly move their way through Jones’ physical staging…Davies is best at dialing back but others in the ensemble subscribe to ‘more is more’ with fire and brimstone delivery that occasionally undermines the script. That being said, as a whole, the multicultural cast takes on a slew of characters with deft clarity and physicalization.”
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September 25th, 2017

"While September is admittedly very early to make predictions about an entire theater season, it’s hard to imagine there will be a more spectacular NY stage debut than the one being given by Davies...But Spencer-Jones rather oversimplifies the philosophical discussions. Indeed, one often feels that style has overtaken substance throughout much of the play’s 90-minute running time, with some sections, striking as they are, skirting a little too close to a pure modern dance performance."
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October 2nd, 2017

“Spencer-Jones's work is highly choreographic, with every movement…precisely timed, like the mechanism after which the play is named...Well-done as the choreographic movement is...we get caught up more in its technical than emotional or painful aspects, a problem dominating the entire ramped-up production…The high-pressure theatrics make it difficult to accept anything as real, much less erotic...The presentation favors form over substance, i.e., it could use more orange and less clockwork.”
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September 25th, 2017

"Less a conventional stage play than a high-voltage homoerotic dance drama...Never less than watchable, thanks to some thrilling choreography and to its graceful, hunky nine-member cast...The author’s sly morality tale is still there for the diligent theatergoer, the story of ultraviolent Alex, a menace to society, who becomes menaced by society...To his credit, Burgess offers no pat answers, and lets no one off the hook, not even himself."
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September 25th, 2017

"What is happening at New World Stages in 'A Clockwork Orange' has me scratching my head...The men of the cast are chiseled, buff, and beautiful on the outside. But on the inside, they are warped, sadistic, and their vicious foreplay borders on homoerotic...Davies as Alex is hauntingly brilliant...This 'A Clockwork Orange' glorifies criminal behavior, making it sexy. Suddenly the world feels not so safe and this show seems way too long."
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September 25th, 2017

"A thrillingly respectful amalgam of Burgess’ hurtle into an acidic culture...Spencer-Jones' immaculate treatment of the material results in a 90-minute, intermissionless dive, one featuring precise, exaggerated behaviors and closely drilled movements...There is much to be said for the performers cast for this production and it’s not just that they’re triple-threat actor-singer-dancers; as an ensemble, they’re off the charts."
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October 3rd, 2017

"Blame it on director Spencer-Jones, who uses Burgess’s Nabokovian fable about free will and state control as an excuse to have cute guys whip off their tank tops and dance-fight. If you already know the story you’re in for a long 90 minutes of cartoon mugging and cheesy, choreographed rapes and rumbles…Fewer BDSM clichés and better acting in supporting roles would have made the show feel less like a camped-up ethics lecture and more like the journey of a soul."
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September 25th, 2017

"Davies gives a muscular, menacing performance as rounded as his biceps...We know this is 'A Clockwork Orange,' by the way, because there is a big bowl of big oranges on a platform upstage...After about eighty-five of the not-so-brisk minutes, Mr. Davies yells out 'I’ve had enough!' So have we all, dear sloosy-creechy-grompky boy, so have we all."
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October 6th, 2017

"While the staging is sometimes visually arresting, the meanings are hard to grasp...Davies is ultra dynamic and carries the production, which is consistently very busy as it races through the tale...There are merely nods to such ideas as expressed in the film version, but they are lost in the onslaught of masculine physicality that is highlighted in this staging. The result is loud and extremely busy without emphasizing what 'A Clockwork Orange' is really all about."
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October 17th, 2017

"Spencer-Jones’ highly-stylized staging employs sleekly choreographed mayhem and fisticuffs...The all-male ensemble displays impressive pecs and abs as they go through their perfectly timed gut punches and kicks to the groin...It’s entertaining and flashy, yet Burgess’ themes of free will versus social safety are lost amid the biceps and jetes. It’s an attempt at combining a Chippendales revue with '1984,' but only the former emerges strongly."
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October 2nd, 2017

"The storytelling is muddled, and the much buzzed about violence both gratuitous and mostly vanilla...The film incisively explores interesting and important questions about masculinity, free will, religion...I kept waiting for the play to get beyond its own production values to explore these questions as sharply, but it never does. Instead, we are treated to 90 minutes of aural assault, Jerome Robbins-esque stage combat, and unnecessary toplessness."
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September 25th, 2017

"A startlingly conceived, brave piece of physical theatre...That nobody is struck in the play does take something away from the implied hideousness of the violence...The disadvantage of a compact cast, no matter how talented, is that the story and characters become confusing...Still, the cast conjure dramatic miracles from thin air...Despite the holes in the text and confusing characterization, there remains something electrifyingly watchable about this production."
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September 26th, 2017

"An exciting, if not altogether realized, queer take on a classic...The story’s details are too frequently lost in a gyrating and sometimes chaotic churn...The burden of storytelling often proves too much for the actors’ bodies alone...Scenes of violence and delusion are played as erotic ballets, which are beautiful to watch and often just as confusing to interpret...The absence of flesh-and-blood women in a story so much about misogyny and violent male desire robs the play of its teeth."
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September 28th, 2017

"A work that remains as disturbingly relevant today as it was when it first appeared in the sixties, and as grippingly powerful as any of the versions that came before it. Much of that is due to an unceasingly riveting performance by Jonno Davies...The show’s impact can also be credited to Spencer-Jones, who directs the all-male cast of nine in a potent testosterone-driven blend of extremely loud and belligerent mannered speech and highly stylized movement."
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September 26th, 2017

"An energetic, hyperstylized gay fantasia with a cast of muscle boys but never quite achieves the rhythm that made the 1962 novel and controversial 1971 film so involving...Spencer-Jones seems so intent on dazzling us with the hot dancing that Burgess’s message about adolescence and maturity, religion, government control, and behaviorism gets lost. But there are still lots of oohs and aahs from the crowd when the actors really let loose and get down and dirty."
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September 25th, 2017

"[A]fter an hour or so the play begins to drag, becoming thematically monotonous."
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October 2nd, 2017

"Alexandra Spencer-Jones’s stage production is visceral, energetic, and well choreographed...Songs by Frankie Goes to Hollywood and Beth Ditto form the backdrop of this 90-minute rethinking, which I found a little one-note and wearisome, while still admiring its tenacity."
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September 25th, 2017

"May be the gayest fantasia to hit a New York theater since 'Priscilla Queen of the Desert' closed up shop on Broadway...Davies strikes a remarkable pose on stage...What he doesn’t do is create a rounded character that elicits our empathy. But that doesn’t seem to be the point in this high-energy production given Spencer-Jones’ focus on sensation above all else...The show cannot seem to escape its innate campiness."
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September 30th, 2017

"Both banks on and challenges its brand awareness, refining the narrative into a piquant, overheated slab of physical theater...If it ultimately proves stultifying, it can also be mesmerizing...The play’s concert vibe veers too often into celebration; rape, murder and torture become party games...This version of the story comes on with all the subtlety of a disco wrecking ball. Thank Bog for Davies, then. His performance is a master class in total performance control."
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November 3rd, 2017

“You might remember Stanley Kubrick’s film...A chilling depiction of totally amoral youths who call themselves ‘Droogs’...In the film, the Droogs’ victims are played by other actors; here, the actors playing the Droogs also play their victims, which undercuts the shock of what the Droogs inflict on them, making the play seem more or less like silly game-playing. That said, Spencer-Jones’ highly choreographed production is sensational, as is British actor Davies as Alex.”
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September 28th, 2017

"The show is full of pop and rock songs, at times unintelligible dialogue, exciting choreography, along with plenty of homoeroticism. There is still rape and violence, but–with perhaps one exception–it never shakes you up or makes you uncomfortable...But there are plenty of places in TV, film and, yes, real life to see excessive violence. And credit Spencer-Jones for daring to try something new. And there is a certain beauty to seeing the actors...thrash around for 90 minutes."
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February 17th, 2017

"This show is intensely physical; this is an approach that lends itself naturally to the aggression of Alex's world, at the same time making it artful and expressive...Davies becomes Alex with apparent ease...Without a doubt this is one of the standout lead performances of the year so far...Absolutely timeless, and its relevance can rarely be overstated-what this production does so brilliantly is take a refreshing angle on the material, whilst retaining its essence. Unquestionably a must-see."
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February 20th, 2017

"A 90-minute account rich in movement and fight sequences, which animates the world of ultraviolence in which Alex and his gang live, but may render it too smooth and too easily palatable...Jonno Davies as Alex is, let’s be frank, a hunk...There’s much here to be admired, although I never felt the visceral thrill that informs the characters’ ultraviolence."
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February 17th, 2017

"The bodies are preening, shirts off and on like some sort of Diet Coke advert gone mad, and they are all bodybuilder ready, particularly that of Jonno Davies, who plays the lead...It’s 90 minutes without an interval and it’s quite unremitting, what with the loud music and the violence that includes broken bottles and anal rape...It’s a spectacle, this show, bodybuilder dance theatre, but it feels more interested in testosterone shock and awe than conveying Burgess’s classic novel."
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February 17th, 2017

"An exhilarating 90 minutes...This is physical theatre with a capital PHYSICAL, rubbing testosterone into the face of the audience, performed to a blistering soundtrack of not just Beethoven...The cast waste not one minute drilled to a high level...They have your attention from the minute they walk slowly into the bare space, demanding your concentration...Inevitably some roles are little more than caricature...Imprinted with an originality that will stay with you after the play ends."
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February 17th, 2017

"Retains a freshness and vigor that both excites and repels...A testosterone-heavy, noisy and boyish production...While Burgess has imagined vivid images for this moral debate...he has provided few ideas for us to get our teeth into...The show is visually striking and, very occasionally, uncomfortable to watch...What’s missing is a real emotional connection to either Alex or to any other character. Also absent is any real feeling of criminality...There’s no sense of danger."
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February 17th, 2017

"The show has a pleasingly overblown quality which shrewdly diffuses the story’s gruelling, graphic sadism without blunting its message...Spencer-Jones preserves its striking physical aesthetic. Gang brawls are rendered in balletic choreography while the athletic, all-male cast crawl and cavort around the stage as lithe and predatory as feral cats...Stylish, stylised, and drenched in sweat, the show has a breathless, exhilarating energy."
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February 20th, 2017

"It propels you mercilessly into a hideous world of drug-fueled violence...These bad lads cavort with grace and swagger in ultra-violence set pieces that dazzle with their visual imagination...It's disappointing that the women are uniformly caricatured by the all-male cast...This crisply directed and fabulously choreographed production takes a thoroughly nasty bunch and charts their fall and rise with an intensity that makes you very glad they don't live in your part of the world."
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February 24th, 2017

"An extremely good group of performers. Davies perfects controlled arrogance but demonstrates deep versatility when necessary...Spencer-Jones’ production has so many strengths but there’s ambiguity in droves. The second half especially requires too many scene changes...The violence too, is more inferred than demonstrated...The show is mostly strong and brings Burgess’ story to a new generation; however, the big smack in your face impact just unfortunately isn’t there."
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February 19th, 2017

"Director Spencer-Jones gives full expression to the novel’s philosophical richness while creating a distinct–and distinctive–theatrical experience. Her use of the all-male cast makes the scenes of sexualized violence suitably sickening without being prurient. At their best, the choreographed fights recall the 'rumpus' from 'West Side Story.' The charismatic Jonno Davies heads a virtuosic ensemble in a striking rendition of a modern classic."
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February 17th, 2017

"A fantastically well-written piece of work that has certainly stood the test of time as far as a story goes...Jonno makes the part his own and delivers a tour-de-force performance...Spencer-Jones really makes the most of every aspect of the story and her cast...It is impossible to drag your eyes off the stage. The production is intense and gripping from the start...A really amazing and awesome production."
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