George and the Dragon – a breath of fresh air ★★★★☆

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NT’ George and the Dragon is inspired by the Soviet writer Evgeny Schwartz’s play ‘The Dragon’, a political allegory about Stalinism. In the NT’s version, George becomes an England’s patron saint, a dragon-fighting knight, confronting his enemy through different stages of sociocultural evolution.

In the first part George saves a medieval village by destroying the dragon – an evil ruler. Giving people their freedom, society progresses to the next stage, an industrial revolution. We meet George again in the Victorian town where the dragon is now an evil factory owner in the booming society with a practice of  children labour. George has to face the dragon once again, fighting the capitalism. In the last, third story, we move to a modern big city where George finds his heroism and nobility outdated and unappreciated by people. In this chapter George has to challenge the most difficult of the dragon’s guises, as the dragon infected everyone with the viсes of modern society.

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Rory Mullarkey’s three hour allegorical play is a true delight. It is a very touching tale with strong performances and interesting design as if straight from a children’s tale. John Heffernan plays the indefatigable knight and is brilliant in portraying a gentle romantic knight at first, transitioning into an outdated figure fighting for his archaic principles. Julian Bleach, the menacing dragon, is admirable in his role of a satiated ruler and a shapeshiftting character. Moreover, it is Lyndsey Turner’s production, who is famous for her “Hamlet” starring Benedict Cumberbatch and many more brilliant plays. As the rest of her productions. ‘George and the Dragon‘ is very ingenious especially in staging the airborne fight between the knight and the dragon, while all of the three dragon’s head are flying over crashing on stage with the theatrical explosion.

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‘George and the Dragon’ the play, is very touching and delicate. It touches upon many different problems such as national identity, myth-making, hero worship, humanity, economical progress and many more.  And perhaps asks us to give ourselves a very good look and kill the dragon inside while we still can.

 

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