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Picks: ‘A Clockwork Orange’

[STAGE] Jan. 25-Feb. 10

Anthony Burgess claimed his controversial 1962 novel A Clockwork Orange was “misunderstood,” especially after Stanley Kubrick famously brought it to the big screen in 1971 (and pulled it from U.K. theaters due to death threats made toward his family). Burgess seemed to treat his lone famous novel like an albatross around his neck, obligated to highlight and defend its moral indictments against violence, an element he accused Kubrick and other interpreters of sensationalizing. Not helping matters is the complexity of antihero and central character Alex, who commits an unspeakable act and ends up in jail, but is released only after agreeing to undergo experimental — and arguably inhumane — therapy to rid him of his aggressive impulses.

And yet, in 1972, Burgess adapted it for theater, mostly to restore the novel’s original, more optimistic ending that American publishers rejected and Kubrick left out of his movie. Since then, a few ambitious production companies have also staged the almost nihilistic, often satirical work in the usual cities (London, New York, Berlin, Los Angeles, etc.).

Add Las Vegas to that list. Director Brandon Alan McClenahan (former artistic director of Insurgo Theater Movement, and thus no stranger to audacious productions) will stage his version at Onyx Theatre with musical accompaniment and, according to the venue’s website, zero pulled punches. Which is exactly how A Clockwork Orange should be experienced, trusting the audience to interpret the work as it will. 8 p.m. (2 p.m. on Feb. 10); Onyx Theatre, 953 E. Sahara Ave.,, $20