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A fitting celebration of George's genius

PUBLISHED: 17:34 17 June 2009 | UPDATED: 17:24 16 August 2010

THE anniversary of George Orwell s most famous novel has sparked many commemorations but it is his own words plain and simple which pack the biggest punch, writes Martina Soteriou.

THE anniversary of George Orwell's most famous novel has sparked many commemorations but it is his own words plain and simple which pack the biggest punch, writes Martina Soteriou.

Last week marked the 60th and 70th anniversary of the publication of Nineteen Eighty-Four and Coming Up for Air respectively.

The Trafalgar Studios in Whitehall are currently

showing Orwell - A Celebration - a production which contains extracts of

the journalist's pieces

Coming Up For Air,

Nineteen Eighty-Four, Shooting an Elephant and A Hanging. Doublethink Theatre and The Fish Partnership present three actors and a sparse stage to take on the celebrated pieces - the most successful of which is Coming Up for Air.

Actor and stand-up comic Hal Cruttenden plays George Bowling, who is desperately trying to escape suburbia with the paranoid thought everyone knows his plan and are behind him screaming: "There's a chap who thinks he's going to escape! There's

a chap who says he won't be streamlined! He's going back to Lower Binfield! After him! Stop him!"

Cruttenden plays George Bowling with great subtlety, managing to be tragic, cruel and utterly submissive.

Surprisingly it is Coming Up for Air and not Nineteen Eighty-Four which proves to be the highlight of the evening, given the latter's remaining mark on society.

The poignancy and universality of Coming Up for Air gives it a particularly lasting impression.

* Orwell - A Celebration continues at the Trafalgar Studios until Saturday, July 4. Tickets are £15 to £22.50 and £15 on Monday evenings. They can be bought from the box office on 0870 060 6632 or online from www.ambassadortickets.com.

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