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A Clockwork Orange (New World Stages)

From 48 critic and 241 member reviews
Members say: Edgy, Confusing, Ambitious, Intense, 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. More…

'A Clockwork Orange' lures audiences into a glass-edged, testosterone-filled underworld of a dystopian future. The explosive story of little Alex and his rebellious gang of Droogs is a groundbreaking classic of orgiastic ultra-violence and sexuality. As hauntingly relevant today as when Burgess’ book was first published, 'A Clockwork Orange' is an unapologetic celebration of the human condition.

The Clyde Fitch Report

"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." Full Review

DC Metro Theater Arts

"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." Full Review

Theatre Reviews Limited

“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.” Full Review


"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." Full Review


"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." Full Review


“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.” Full Review

Front Row Center

"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." Full Review

Front Mezz Junkies

"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." Full Review

DC Theatre Scene

"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." Full Review

Daily Beast

"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." Full Review

Broadway Blog

“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.” Full Review

The Playfixer

“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.” Full Review

Theater Pizzazz

"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!" Full Review

Stage Buddy

“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.” Full Review

Asbury Park Press

"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." Full Review

Entertainment Weekly

"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." Full Review


"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." Full Review


"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." Full Review

The New York Times

"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." Full Review


"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." Full Review


"[A]fter an hour or so the play begins to drag, becoming thematically monotonous." Full Review

Lighting & Sound America

"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." Full Review


"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." Full Review

Times Square Chronicles

"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." Full Review

Wolf Entertainment Guide

"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." Full Review

Dizzying, Great acting, Great staging, Intense, Intelligent

See it if you've already read the book or seen the movie and can understand Nadsat and if you love the universe Anthony Burgess created.

Don't see it if you have a problem with homoerotic scenarios, violence, sex of all kinds or if you're under 18.

Absorbing, Clever, Ambitious, Edgy, Sexy

See it if You're a fan of the book or movie and want a fresh take on the story. The actors are absolutely amazing.

Don't see it if You don't already know the story line.

Absorbing, Great acting, Intense, Riveting, Thought-provoking

See it if You love weird, unconventional theater. If you have an open mind about fresh and modern artists incorporating great music and choreography

Don't see it if You're just into typical Broadway shows and don't enjoy intense theatrical pieces

Relevant, Riveting, Frightening, Insipid, Masterful

See it if If you are a fan of the book, like strong performances & physicality

Don't see it if You don't like violence on stage.

Dizzying, Ambitious, Absorbing, Intelligent, Thought-provoking

See it if you like a beautifully choreographed take on a classic film with amazing dancing and beautiful actors interpreting fight scenes and violence

Don't see it if you don't like an avant garde presentation of an edgy subject matter and wonderful dancing and acting

Clever, Edgy, Indulgent, Quirky, Raunchy

See it if you like a twist on a movie you remember from youth and want to see some young men in various states of undress

Don't see it if you don't like loud aggressive music and scenes, was concerned for some of the blue hairs in the group

Absorbing, Great acting, Profound, Thought-provoking

See it if disturbing, stylish, and sexy which was on the poster is an accurate description of the show as a whole. was capturing in every moment.

Don't see it if not for children or for the easily offended.

Masterful, Resonant, Intelligent, Energetic, Powerful

See it if you are familiar with the book, or at least the movie, and would like to see a highly stylized, high octane, intense version.

Don't see it if you have not done your reading assignment. Without understanding of the original work, it is hard to follow the story and social relevance.

Also This show has an all male cast who likely spend all their free time at... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Ambitious, Great acting, Great staging, Thought-provoking

See it if want to see an amazing production of the book; a superb acting ensemble, a challenging story that gets you thinking.

Don't see it if violence upsets you .

Absorbing, Intense, Edgy, Ambitious, Entertaining

See it if You are open to a different take on the story with an all male cast. However the story is still intact.

Don't see it if If you don't have an open mind and are expecting to see the movie onstage.

Absorbing, Ambitious

See it if if you love psychological plays

Don't see it if not into sexuality and the human psyche

Ambitious, Great staging, Great acting, Edgy, Thought-provoking

See it if you are a fan of the novel and the story, enjoying new takes on classic stories. Very innovative in its staging and writing and choreography

Don't see it if you don't like hinted violence or gay undertones. If you don't know the original story, the ensemble casting might also be a bit confusing.

Edgy, Great staging, Thought-provoking, Riveting

See it if You're a fan of theatre that pushes the envelope, you don't mind looking at sexy mean

Don't see it if You're have a weak stomach, you have gender hang ups

Clever, Ambitious, Great acting, Edgy, Intelligent

See it if You’re interested in new-age theater. If you enjoy the book, or the movie, you’ll also enjoy this brand new take on it.

Don't see it if You don’t like very loud theater, new-age style, foul language, or brutal violence

Entertaining, Intelligent, Masterful, Profound, Thought-provoking

See it if You’re someone who loves a great interpretation that was everything you never knew you wanted theater to be.

Don't see it if If you want to laugh a lot.

Clever, Indulgent, Refreshing, Relevant

See it if Sexy Shakesperean and intense just the way clockwork should be. Jonno Davies is a new star. Go see it

Don't see it if Mature themes and edgy material bothers you

Absorbing, Edgy, Great staging, Relevant, Thought-provoking

See it if You want to be fully indulged in a great story that makes you think. Beautiful staging, choreography and movement. Jonno Davis is incredible

Don't see it if Homophobia turns you off. Cannot handle one act plays with a lot of story all at once.

Ambitious, Dizzying, Edgy, Masterful, Must see

See it if You like edgy, provocative shows, with adult subject matter. The choreography was astonishing. I’ve never seen a show quite like it.

Don't see it if You’re put off by even implied violence, are easily confused (every actor except the lead plays multiple characters), or want a lighter show

Great acting, Resonant, Clever, Absorbing

See it if you enjoy dynamic plays with absorbing dancing that is an integral part of the drama

Don't see it if you would be put off by the stylized violence and sex that are at the core of this drama.

Edgy, Intense, Entertaining

See it if You want to see something different or like to see good looking guys on stage. Fine acting.

Don't see it if You have a problem understanding British accents. IF you want to see hot girls in a show.

Quirky, Great staging, Ambitious

See it if You enjoy dark and dystopic stories, great direction, movement is precise and dynamic. Jonno Davies is great as Alex.

Don't see it if The all male cast suggests themes that are not inherent in the text. Don't see if violence and the 'eggy wegg' language are not your thing.

Absorbing, Riveting, Great acting, Great staging

See it if You want to see great body movement and staging

Don't see it if If you are homophobic

Clever, Great acting, Ambitious

See it if you have seen the movie and want a new take on it

Don't see it if you might feel that there is a homosexual overtone in the staging

Absorbing, Edgy, Great staging, Intense, Raunchy

See it if you're looking for something a little dangerous that will make you think about good and evil in different, gray area, ways.

Don't see it if you are sensitive to violence or adult content. Nothing is graphic, but very suggestive in movement.

Edgy, Great staging, Intense, Riveting, Ambitious

See it if You are a fan of the book or movie adaptation; you like dystopian stories; you enjoy rock and classical music.

Don't see it if You are easily offended or unable to engage with controversial and disturbing subject matter.

Cast & Creatives (15)