Fahrenheit 451 is based on the book of the same name by Ray Bradbury and is set in a future time when all books are banned. Any books found are burned and whoever reads them is treated as a criminal and faces potential execution. The title comes from the temperature at which paper burns, 451 degrees Fahrenheit.The hero of the play is Guy Montag, a fireman. In this future world firemen are not needed to put out fires as most homes are fireproof – instead they are responsible for burning books. He does his job without really thinking about it, although he clearly feels that his life is unsatisfactory. However, it takes a meeting with a radical young woman named Clarrise McClellan to make him do something about it. Much of the play revolves around Montag’s interaction with the chief fireman, Beatty, an extremely complicated character. Beatty is totally devoted to his job, willingly burning a house down with a woman still inside. He lives alone and treats his electronic equipment as his family but also has a vast library of books, none of which he has ever read because that would be illegal. In the end he is prepared to sacrifice himself to give Montag a chance of escape.The set is small and there is very little scenery so the production depends largely on the performances of the actors. These are excellent throughout, the best probably Keir Watson as Chief Beatty; a gripping, magnetic depiction of a chilling, multi-layered man.In some ways the play seems a little dated, being written before the Internet, iPods and mobile phones existed. It seems unlikely that knowledge could be wiped out so effectively as shown here. But even today censorship is always with us and all governments try to control the spread of information, so perhaps it is still just as relevant. This is certainly a production which will make you think.

Reviews by Alan Chorley

History Boys

★★★★

Dracula

★★

Cherry Orchard

★★★★

Azincourt

★★★★

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★★★★

The Blurb

'Fahrenheit 45'1 illustrates the dangers of censorship in a dystopian future. ExADUS' ensemble style uses physical theatre to relate Ray Bradbury's tale of a fire-starter in a fear-addicted world that destroys free thought and promotes ignorance.