Faustus: That Damned Woman

22nd Jan 2020 - 4th Apr 2020

Book Tickets

1984 Branding


Radio Times


by Claire Webb

Perfectly timed to provide some light relief from Brexit, Headlong’s stylish, thrilling adaptation is back in the West End for a limited run...depressingly relevent and brilliantly discomfiting


Gay Times Magazine


by William J Connolly

Offering a ruthless approach, 1984 is 101 minutes of aggresstive storytelling that eats away at the normal that you once knew.

Limelight Magazine


by Maxim Boon

Masterfully constructed and chillingly frank, this adaptation of Orwell's dystopian masterpiece is a coup.

Time Out


by Andrzej Lukowski

'Headlong’s adaptation of George Orwell’s ‘Nineteen Eighty-Four’ is such a sense-overloadingly visceral experience that it was only the second time around, as it transfers to the West End, that I realised quite how political it was.'

The Times


by Dominic Maxwell

'I urge you to see adapter-directors Robert Icke and Duncan Macmillan's stunning show... It's not easy to make something vividly dramatic from a novel of ideas. This pulls it off in style.'

Financial Times


by Sarah Hemming

'Headlong’s brilliant stage version ... Rather than just tell the story, this show, written and directed by Robert Icke and Duncan Macmillan, creates a dynamic response that strips away complacency and plays on those creeping anxieties about trust, manipulation and freedom.'

The Observer


by Susannah Clapp

'Robert Icke and Duncan Macmillan have pulled off something tremendous'

What's On Stage


by Michael Coveney

A 'brilliantly imaginative adaptation of George Orwell's great dystopian novel'

Time Out


by Andrzej Lukowski

'This extraordinary adaptation by Robert Icke and Duncan Macmillan for Headlong makes a virtue of the book’s internal nature... It is a troublingly, often horrifyingly sensual experience, a tech-enhanced, heavily stylised race through a mind collapsing under terrible pressure.'



by Libby Purves

'A terrifying, triumphant Headlong take on Orwell'

The Independent


by Jonathan Brown

'For Headlong and Nottingham Playhouse have produced a work of extraordinary quality and intensity here that has been wooing audiences not just in the Robin Hood County but everywhere it goes.'

Exeunt Magazine


by Catherine Love

In Headlong’s bracing new version, adaptors Robert Icke and Duncan Macmillan use Orwell’s typically discarded Appendix as a means of re-examining his entire narrative, offering – in what sounds like a perfect instance of doublethink – an extraordinarily faithful transformation of the text.

The Guardian


by Lyn Gardner

'The beauty of this Headlong production is that, in showing us the future, it makes us question the present. We leave the theatre less complacent about our own freedoms; less likely to swallow the lies of those who hold power.'

Events Insider, Boston


by Mike Hoban

Robert Icke and Duncan Macmillan, who adapted the play from the novel and directed, have distilled much of the original text without losing any of the book’s cautionary message, and the results are both horrifying and thought-provoking.

The Telegraph


by Dominic Cavendish

'A remarkable, radical touring version for Headlong BLAZING [with] clinical, spine-tingling finesse. It points us back to the novel, revealing it as fully fit-for-purpose in the 21st century, and quite possibly timeless.'

DC Metro Theater Arts


by Robert Michael Oliver

The story you are about to experience (seeing the performance is not an option as high intensity lights pulverize your retinas) is not some fictional account of some fictional world created by some fictional George Orwell.

This experience happens NOW — not tomorrow or last month or in 1984.

The Times


by Sam Marlowe

'The work of the indefatigably inventive Headlong, it is pitiless in its assertion that the true voice of oppression reverberates around the inside of our own skulls. We have created Big Brother, and we are unhealthily in love with him.'

The Herald Sun


by Kate Herbert

The most alarming thing about this theatrical reimagining of George Orwell’s 1984, adapted by UK company Headlong, is that Orwell foreshadowed in 1949 a dystopian future that resembles our present.

Daily Review


by Owen Richardson

The direction is lively and varied and there is always something new to look at.

The Age


by Cameron Woodhead

This compelling incarnation of Orwell's dystopia makes you gasp, to think how tenuous the rights and freedoms that make life worth living really are.

Exeunt Magazine


by Natasha Tripney

Chip, chop. Chip, chop. There’s an ice cream van that passes by my flat every afternoon. As it sidles up the street it plays a tinny version of Oranges and Lemons, ever so slightly out of time – and it is, without question, one of the eeriest things I have ever heard.

What's On Stage


by Mark Valencia

Time shifts and jump cuts threaten to slice up the narrative of George Orwell's dark postwar tale in Robert Icke and Duncan Macmillan's retelling, now back in the West End. In early scenes they trouble and wrongfoot us and allow this over-familiar nightmare, with its pessimistic and cynical glimpse of what was (in 1948) a scarcely imaginable future, to draw us in afresh.

The Times


by Kate Bassett

Winston Smith is never truly alone. Even when he believes he has momentarily eluded the state’s nightmarish surveillance systems, Big Brother is, of course, watching him. So are the audience, a myriad of flies-on-the-wall, eyeing this ominous and sometimes electrifying dramatisation of Orwell’s novel.

Evening Standard


by Fiona Mountford

A flexible eight-strong ensemble tackles all the roles with brio. Spencer is wonderfully disorientated as Winston, a lone voice of sanity in a Newspeak universe, and Janine Harouni makes her Julia a welcome burst of passion in a world where holding hands has been outlawed. This is a stylish summer hit.

The Stage


by Mark Shenton

'Robert Icke and Duncan Macmillan's theatrical version, by turns disorientating and disconcerting, remains a marvel of theatrical inventiveness and chilling, sometimes thrilling, power.'



by James Garden



by Neil Norman

'This is a dazzlingly theatrical take on Orwell’s sulphurous masterpiece'

Evening Standard


by Fiona Mountford

'This stylish and sophisticated adaptation of George Orwell’s 1949 novel richly deserves its West End transfer.'

The Guardian


by Michael Billington

'It is no mean feat to offer a new perspective on a familiar work. That, however, is what Robert Icke and Duncan Macmillan, as joint creators of this new version of George Orwell's famous novel, have ingeniously done.'

The Evening Standard


by Henry Hitchings

'This is a rigorous and prodigiously confident reimagining of Orwell’s dystopian nightmare.'

The Daily Telegraph


by Charles Spencer

'This stage version of 1984 is complex, harrowing and ingenious – and it makes the Orwellian nightmare vividly fresh... The cast is outstanding.'

The Sunday Times


by David Jays

'Headlong's visually audacious multimedia production doesn't draw hysterical parallels with NSA surveillance or the tyranny of Google - it doesn't need to.'


by Barbara Johnson

Fans of the novel who doubt that the exhilaration of rebellion or the horrors of Room 101 could be done justice onstage might be surprised...


by Christopher Ehlers

Robert Icke and Duncan Macmillan's adaptation of 1984, George Orwell's bleak, dystopian novel, is one of the finest page-to-stage adaptations in recent memory.

Talkin' Broadway

by Nancy Grossman

Icke and Macmillan make 1984 a visceral as well as an intellectual experience that captures the audience and holds it in a tight grip.


by Jess Viator

It is astounding that a book written decades ago about a terrifyingly potential future remains so frighteningly relevant to our current dystopian fears. A chilling warning about governmental overreach and the demolition of individuals’ privacy, George Orwell’s 1984 stands as an iconic text, spookily prescient.

The ARTery

by Jeremy D. Goodwin

1984 presents a bracing and invigorating night at the theater — like cold water splashing on a telescreen… or an iPhone.

Edge Media Network, Boston

by Kilian Melloy

This play is an absolute sensation, but not everything it dishes up is going to feel good or be easy to witness.

Hollywood Reporter

by Jordan Riefe

Icke and Macmillan’s adaptation of 1984 stands out as one of the most unique and disturbing takes on a book that sadly never seems to lose its relevance.

Los Angeles Times

by Charles McNulty

Orwell is sadly never out of date. But few stage adaptations are capable of translating so effectively the stark horror of this cautionary classic.

The Guardian

by Brigid Delaney

Headlong’s production is completely brilliant. It uses conceits that work better on the stage than on the page: lots of large video screens so that we – the audience – become Big Brother. Spying on moments of fleeting, dangerous tenderness...adds to our sense of voyeurism and complicity.

ABC Arts

by Alison Croggon

The stagecraft and performances are impeccable, with harsh lighting and sound generating a sense of traumatic enclosure in which, we the audience, stand in for the intrusive vigilance of Big Brother.

Exeunt Magazine

by Lauren Mooney

Robert Icke on directing 1984.

'Icke was keen to get away from the visual associations of previous versions. After going back to the book, he and his co-adaptor Duncan Macmillan “realised it was much more complicated than that – that it was going to be much more difficult than doing a straightforward science fiction play about a dystopian world.'

The Guardian Blog

by Sarah Grochala

Sarah Grochala on building the 1984 Digital Double App.

'The main difference between the world of 1984 and contemporary surveillance is that whereas Winston is spied upon in even his most private moments, we now willingly volunteer private information about ourselves online. What need is there for the thought police, when we openly broadcast our every thought in real time on Twitter?'

Theatre Voice

by Dominic Cavendish

'We want at the end of an hour and 40 minutes for the audience to have that same sense of a visceral face-punch.'

Robert Icke and Duncan Macmillan discuss adapting George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty Four for the stage with Dominic Cavendish.

What's On Stage

by Editorial Staff

Favourite line in the play?

'The thing that he was about to do was open a diary. If detected, it would be punished by death.'

Tim Dutton (O'Brien) answers questions on the production, the tour and what he thinks drives his character O'Brien.

The Guardian

by Matt Trueman

Robert Icke discusses his and Duncan Macmillan's adaptation of 1984 with  Matt Trueman.

A Younger Theatre

by James Fennemore

James Fennemore talks to Robert Icke about 1984.

Official London Theatre

by Kate Stanbury

'If you like theatre that requires you to think, that rewards concentration, that tries to trick you, leads you one way then another, enjoys playfulness and still has the guts to shock, you’ll love it.'

The New York Times

by Ben Brantley

'This willfully assaultive production, which transferred from a widely praised run at the Almeida Theater to the Playhouse Theater, makes it clear that we are not to believe unconditionally in what it tells us, that perhaps even this play has been written by Big Brother.'

The Independent

by Holly Williams

'From A Brave New World to 1984: Directors on why dystopian novels are invading the theatre'