WE – Yevgeny Zamyatin

Anton Lesser, Don Warrington

Adapted by Sean O’Brien

Directed by Jim Poyser

 

If Wells and Verne are the fathers of science-fiction then Yevgeni Zamyatin is the Godfather of dystopia.

The Russian penned this masterwork in the years following the Bolshevik revolution and in it we find the themes of depersonalisation and the triumphant rise of bureaucracy and totalitarianism.

The influences on Orwell, Huxley and Levin are self-evident.

In this radio adaption Anton Lesser takes the lead character D503, the chief engineer of the Integral, a spaceship being built to conquer new worlds.

Lesser is a superlative radio performer and brings a fragile sense of himself which is ruthlessly exploited by 1-330, a rebellious female who drinks, smokes and flirts.

We discover that outside the glass city is a green wall cutting off inhabitants from nature – and the band of humans intent on wrecking the system. Parallels with Logan’s Run and This Perfect Day are obvious.

The production and eerie space-filling music demonstrate BBC radio drama at its best.

8/10

 

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