The songwriter is reteaming with screenwriter Lee Hall on a stage version of George Orwell’s classic Stalinist allegory, reports the Daily Mail. John and Hall worked together on the stage adaptation of Billy Elliot. It’s taken the pair two years to obtain all the necessary rights. The CIA was covertly involved in buying the film rights from Orwell’s widow Sonia, enabling Halas & Batchelor to make their 1954 cartoon. There’s no theatre producer attached yet. I imagine they’ll be falling over themselves.
Much as I love Orwell, I can’t help but feel Animal Farm is a bit tired around the edges. I’m picturing lots of masks and actors singing, “Four legs good, two legs bad.” Animal Farm just doesn’t resonate in the way 1984 still does. I’d much rather see the stage musical David Bowie was planning of 1984 back in the 70s until Sonia Orwell blocked him. That score eventually became the basis for the album Diamond Dogs.