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A Clockwork Orange (New World Stages)

Members say: Edgy, Confusing, Ambitious, Intense, Disappointing
48 reviews
228 reviews

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.

... Read 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.


Cast & Creatives (15)

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Reviews (276)

See: Critics' Reviews | Members' Reviews
Avg Score


"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

The Hollywood Reporter

"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." Full Review

Time Out New York

"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." 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

Village Voice

"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." Full Review

The Huffington Post

"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." 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

Cultural Weekly

"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." 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

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

Theatre's Leiter Side

“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.” Full Review

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

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

New York Daily News

"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." 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

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

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


"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

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


"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

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


"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


"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

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

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

See: Critics' Reviews | Members' Reviews
Avg Score

Ambitious, Edgy, Intense, Confusing, Disappointing

See it if you want to see 10 gorgeous, fit men dancing and putting their all into the show.

Don't see it if you expect a faithful interpretation of the film. This is not. It is dance-y and somewhat jumbled. Hard to understand if you don't know film

Ambitious, Confusing, Disappointing, Overrated

See it if You are very familiar with the story and don't need any help knowing what's going on by the play

Don't see it if You have other theater choices. Maybe I'm dense but I had like idea of what was going on.

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

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.

The lead was great, he was the show

See it if you want to see great acting by JONNO DAVIES who played Alex DeLarge He is what makes it worth seeing

Don't see it if you want more than just one bright light in a mismash otherwise

Dizzying, Confusing, Disappointing, Excruciating, Chaotic

See it if you are obsessed with the film?

Don't see it if you don't already know the story going in.

Great acting, Intense

See it if ....

Don't see it if .....

Ambitious, Dizzying, Edgy, Confusing, Violent

See it if If you are a fan of the original novel and the movie version and are willing to explore the violent world of the Drools in future England .

Don't see it if You don't like a very sparce abstract interpretation of the story, much of which is done through creative movement and graphic violence.

Also Alex and his Droogs have always been a difficult subject, what with th... Read more Read less

Edgy, Raunchy, Indulgent, Disappointing, Slow

See it if the cast--esp jonno davies--were committed and capable

Don't see it if still not sure how it's possible, but this magic-mike-meets-clockwork-orange was boring

Ambitious, Edgy, Intense, Slow, Great staging

See it if You are looking for something different.

Don't see it if You are looking for something traditional.

Intense, Quirky, Great staging

See it if You're a huge fan of Clockwork movie or book

Don't see it if You're not into experimental staging techniques

Banal, Confusing, Disappointing, Insipid, Slow

See it if You like hot musclebound guys showing off. (but that's the only thing that will keep your attention...)

Don't see it if you are interested in a plot. Go to a Chippendale show instead.

Edgy, Great acting, Thought-provoking, Relevant, Disappointing

See it if you are gay or a woman that wants to see good looking half naked men, and also you like the story.

Don't see it if you are expecting a Kubriesque adaptation with a sci fi retro look or great music.

Also "A Clockwork Orange" isn't the best play ever, but just because it is ... Read more Read less

Disappointing, Excruciating, Overrated

See it if You like good looking men showing off their bodies

Don't see it if For any reason other than the lead male. He gives an amazing performance but everything else pales in comparison

Extremely stylized, Very intense / quirky, Great choreography & creative staging, Edgy / dark, Homoerotic-fest

See it if everything I wrote above is cool w/you. If you know the movie or book you'll appreciate how the violence is toned-down, freeing the message.

Don't see it if you don't study & prepare. Only a fool will miss these guys go at it intensely, physically, verbally, musically AND erotically for 90min.

Also Hands-down, Jonno Davies ("Alex") ROCKS and steals the show.... Read more Read less

Edgy, Intense, Raunchy, Confusing, Disappointing

See it if You enjoy violence.

Don't see it if You are unhappy when you don't unerstand low-class British slang.

Tough, brawny, physical reimagining.

See it if you want to see an inventive physical reimagining of the story.

Don't see it if you like to identify with the character. Alex is inaccessible. He's a punk, arrested, therapized and a mess. You never see HIM.

Ambitious, Edgy, Great acting, Confusing, Great staging

See it if you want to see "experimental theater" and something out of the box

Don't see it if you are looking for linear story telling and don't like thick English accents

Also This is a very ambitious show. If you know the original movie and book... Read more Read less

Ambitious, Thought-provoking, Quirky, Confusing, Great staging

See it if You're a fan of the film and can piece together what they're doing on stage. Newbies will probably find it confusing, as I did.

Don't see it if You prefer something more straight-froward in its storytelling.

Ambitious, Great acting, Confusing, Great staging, Homoerotic

See it if you were able to stomach 1984... this was a slightly less intense feeling...

Don't see it if you don't like gritty, in your face kind of theatre...

Confusing, Disappointing, Excruciating

See it if You enjoy Beethoven, seriously.

Don't see it if You value your time, enjoy understanding the dialogue, like milk, or the color orange, because they will forever be soiled by this turd.

Ambitious, Intense, Quirky

See it if You like highly stylized shows where visuals are extremely graphic.

Don't see it if You want something light with an easy narrative.

Edgy, Great acting, Confusing, Disappointing, Great staging

See it if you are familiar with the book or movie. If not familiar with it, you maybe lost and shocked on the content of the show. Cast is great!

Don't see it if you don't like violent situations played out on stage. If you don't have an open mind stay home.

Also The cast was amazing. Choreography was worth seeing the show. The all ... Read more Read less

Intelligent, Masterful, Resonant, Powerful, Energetic

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

Ambitious, Edgy, Indulgent, Confusing, Homoerotic ++++++++++++++++

See it if you are looking to have a theatrical experience like NONE other.

Don't see it if you are NOT FAMILIAR with the movie nor book because you will be totally LOST!!!

Also Jonno Davies is a show in and of himself. He oozes sexiness from every... Read more Read less

Edgy, Quirky, Interesting, Athletic, Wildly stylistic

See it if you have an open mind and can take loud, wildly stylized scenes of sex and violence.

Don't see it if you want realistic and happy "safe place" theatre.

Also I believe in "Audience Responsibility". That is to say, that the choic... Read more Read less