Volcano Theatre Company erupted on The Brewhouse stage, unleashing all the fury and aggression of the original book A Clockwork Orange, and with some clever nods to the infamous Kubrick film adaptation.

Having wondered how they would portray the brutality and degradation I was astonished at the inventiveness of characterisation and staging. 5 cast members including a female play the role of Alex, each taking on the mantle seamlessly, and using a range of accents which served to emphasise the global nature of evil. The set design was sharp and appropriately black with flashes of chrome and white, using industrial shelving and TV screens as a backdrop. The nudity when it came was a surprise and not, as one might have expected, in the scenes about murder and rape. These were brilliantly portrayed using narration and simulating violations with dolls.

Flashes of dark humour lightened the mood, only to be plunged again into the disturbing questions of which parties are the most evil – those who choose and enjoy violence or those who forcibly remove freedom of choice? Does behaviour modification work? What blame lies with parents? All of these were woven into the net of nastiness.

Burgess wrote his novel in 1962, yet some 50 years later this is an alarmingly prophetic piece given our country’s recent nightly orgies of random violence and vandalism. Volcano’s young cast was outstanding: a truly intense, compelling and disturbing piece of contemporary theatre.