Songs from a musical adaptation of A Clockwork Orange are to be performed for the first time next year. Written by author Anthony Burgess, the ultraviolent showtunes will premiere in Manchester next summer.
Burgess, who died in 1993, started working on a stage version of A Clockwork Orange a decade after Stanley Kubrick’s controversial 1971 film adaptation. “The reason why Burgess wanted to make his own stage adaptation, quite a long time after Kubrick made the film, was to assert his ownership of the story,” Dr Andrew Biswell, director of the International Anthony Burgess Foundation, told BBC News. Although the Royal Shakespeare Company premiered a production based on Burgess’s script in 1990, his songs were replaced with compositions by U2’s Bono and The Edge.
Despite his dark tale of delinquency, Burgess’s songs aren’t so grim. “It’s pretty close to West Side Story,” Biswell said. “That’s one of the obvious influences.” It’s a sinister image: droogs snapping their fingers and singing about Maria. “There’s this scene in prison, where one of the prisoners is kicked to death, which is throwaway and jolly,” Biswell explained. “That’s completely different from the corresponding episode in [Kubrick’s] film, which is gloomy and depressing.”