"It wasn’t a German aeroplane after all. The war hadn’t broken out.
It was only an accident. The planes were flying over to do a bit of bombing practice
— at any rate they were carrying bombs —
and somebody had put his hands on the lever by mistake."

review of Coming Up for Air adaptation

Coming Up Air

"...But still the second bomb didn’t fall. Another quarter of a minute or so, and I raised my head again. Some of the people were still rushing about, others were standing as if they’d been glued to the ground. From somewhere behind the houses a huge haze of dust had risen up, and through it a black jet of smoke was streaming upwards. And then I saw an extraordinary sight. At the other end of the market-place the High Street rises a little. And down this little hill a herd of pigs was galloping, a sort of huge flood of pig-faces. The next moment, of course, I saw what it was. It wasn’t pigs at all, it was only the schoolchildren in their gas-masks. I suppose they were bolting for some cellar where they’d been told to take cover in case of air-raids. At the back of them I could even make out a taller pig who was probably Miss Todgers. But I tell you for a moment they looked exactly like a herd of pigs..."

The above excerpt explains the cover of the program for the stage adaptation of COMING UP FOR AIR that was performed in Vancouver March 8 - 12 [2005] to which my husband and I drove down to attend.

CUFA Ticket and CUFA Ticket

It was a FANTASTIC one-man-show with the actor, Bernard Cuffling, dressed like George Bowling and pantomiming the various scenarios as he narrated the story. The stage was set to look like a pub with two chairs and a round table with a pint of beer on it as the main props. The script used the best parts of the book, starting with his soapy neck from having to hurry out of the bathtub because the kids wanted in, then the walk along the Strand to get his new false teeth, then the drive in the country where he got the idea to secretly go to his childhood home with the money he'd won at the racetrack and hadn't told his wife about, then the drive to Lower Binfield and his disappointments there, including the fish pool having been turned into a rubbish-dump. The audience got the sense of being along with Bowling wherever he went listening to him going on and on and everything he was saying was so easy to relate to, because most of us have experienced exactly what he's talking about. I was in stitches half the time as Orwell is so hilariously funny. The audience totally loved it. Coming Up for Air is just as pertinent now as it was in its 1938 setting and I envy people who haven't read the book because they've still got it ahead of them to enjoy. ~ Jackie Jura


George Orwell's 'Coming Up For Air' (first stage production in UK), Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2008


Jackie Jura
~ an independent researcher monitoring local, national and international events ~

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