This riveting one-man show based on the work of the great English writer demands one question: why didn’t someone do this sooner — say, 25 years sooner, in 1984?
The fine British-born actor Kevin Williamson, making an overdue return to the fringe after eight years, is a tad hale and hearty to portray the gaunt and tubercular Orwell (born Eric Blair) as he retypes the draft of his enduring final novel.
But any doubts you have melt away as Williamson holds sway on the stage, wearing a housecoat in a late-1940s hospital room, bringing Orwell’s fierce conscience and "window-pane" prose to life.
The 60-minute script, by Williamson and the veteran Edmonton playwright Ken (Spiral Dive) Brown, is a mashup of Orwell’s published writing, with excerpts from such self-revelatory essays as his witnessing a hanging in Burma and attending a posh public school in England. The result is a stirring portrait of the artist in his own words.
What Brown and Williamson should do is add 30 or 40 minutes — goodness knows the source material is rich enough — and sell this to regional theatres wherever English is spoken. It would be theatrical gold.
— Morley Walker
From the official Fringe Festival program:
"There is no such thing as keeping out of politics. All issues are political issues." - George Orwell
English Suitcase returns to Winnipeg with the world premiere of a new play about the author of 1984 and Animal Farm.
Performed by Suitcase Artistic Director & founder Kevin Williamson, written & directed by Ken Brown, creator of 2008's hit show Spiral Dive.
RECOMMENDED: General Audience
Venue#18 The Gas Station Theatre 445 River Ave (at Osborne St.)
Under 12 not admitted.