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Described by Eileen Barrett
Written by George Orwell
Adapted by Leslie Mildiner
The one-man stage adaptation of the 1939 novel by George Orwell stars award-winning actor Bernard Cuffling as George Bowling, an insurance salesman who makes an escape from “Hilda and the kids” in London for a few days following a win at the races. George visits his boyhood village in an attempt to recapture childhood innocence, but finds it changed beyond recognition by the effects of modern life. His feelings of loss are intensified by the threat of war looming on the horizon.
Written by Orwell in 1938 and published in 1939, Coming Up for Air captures pre-war anxiety, tension between nostalgia and progress and deals with similar political and societal themes of Orwell’s masterwork Nineteen Eighty-Four.
“Cuffling turns Coming Up for Air into a real jewel, making this Room One-O-One production well worth the trip to the North Shore.” –Jo Ledingham
“A huge part of the reward in Coming Up For Air is the depth that it finds in an ordinary life… Besides, Bernard Cuffling is playing George—and everybody else—in this solo show. I’ve never been so impressed by Cuffling’s skill, probably because I’ve never seen him get so much stage time. His work here is understated and transparent. Without fanfare, with heartbreaking ease in fact, Cuffling inhabits the innocence of George’s eight-year-old self. And he transforms just as easily into an old caretaker who has a face “like a twisted root”, whiny Hilda, a sparkly-eyed eccentric, and a host of other clearly differentiated characters. And he’s completely authentic in George’s yearning, bafflement, joy, and dread.” –Colin Thomas
“Like much of Orwell’s work, Coming Up for Air feels remarkably modern politically. The play criticizes those in power and explores what it means for everyday folk with no influence on the global stage, who are merely trying to make do while they wait for ‘the bad things to come.'” –Vancouver Weekly