ANTHONY Burgess’ classic 1962 dystopian novel A Clockwork Orange is being brought to life on stage at Park Theatre by the Action To The Word theatre company.

Set in a future British society where there is a subculture of extreme youth violence, the teenage protagonist, Alex, narrates the brutal acts he partakes in with his army of “Droogs” and recalls his experiences with authorities who are intent on trying to reform him.

Leytonstone actor Tom Whitelock plays Pete, the only one who doesn’t take any particular side when the Droogs fight amongst themselves and later renounces his vicious ways after marrying a girl, before a final encounter with Alex in the last scene that changes how they both see the world…

The 29-year-old studied a singing course for a year at The Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts after learning to play the guitar, bass and mandolin while he was growing up.

He then went on to study a further music degree at Rose Bruford, in Kent and has since starred in Sunny Afternoon at the Harold Pinter Theatre and Romeo And Juliet at Shakespeare’s Globe.

Tom explains why the cult novel remains as relevant as it was when it was published 55 years ago…

He says: “Burgess has captured very well what it means to be young. The play is still relevant as every teenager goes through a phase where their ego is so strong that they think they are the most important thing in the world but at the same time, also feel like the whole world is against them.

“Many teenagers will have issues, regardless of which generation they grew up in and some may turn to acts of violence in order to get noticed.

“Young people often do not think they are being heard or represented and this is especially true in the world politics at the moment with Brexit and Trump, as certain groups are feeling alienated and as though they do not have a voice.”

In order to understand the mindset of his turbulent character, Tom found the easiest way to transform was to adopt a different walk.

He explains: “Pete is a bundle of energy who is constantly wired and not quite in the same place as everyone else. He is an enigma.

“In terms of physically turning into him, I tend to always walk differently depending on the character I play anyway and he stands, walks and even breathes a different way.

“For a character like this who is so complex, you have to find your reasons and own understanding of why they get enjoyment out of their actions.

Tom admits that being part of A Clockwork Orange has changed how he views younger people.

He says: “Now when I see a group of teenagers talking on the underground and being rowdy, I don’t just dismiss them as just being the typical ‘youth of today’. I feel I see both the sides of the adult and the teenager.”

Although Tom has never performed at Park Theatre before, he has been in several productions with the Action To The Word theatre company, including Dracula and Rhythm Of Silence.

He is full of praise over the vision of the director of the show, Alexandra Spencer-Jones.

He says: “Alex pays so much attention to detail and got the idea for this show when doing a production of Romeo and Juliet many years ago, due to the level of brutality and violence.

“Everything is black and white, with a splash of orange, so there are many references to the title and everyone wears the same colours, so there is an amazingly striking look to the production.

“She still wanted to create a bit of distance from the novel and the film, as she did not want to borrow too much, so there is more of her own stamp on things.

“I’m looking forward to seeing how it comes together on stage. I’ve never worked at Park Theatre before but I’m happy about being able to cycle there in about 20 minutes from my home in Leytonstone. There is a good little community at the theatre.”

A Clockwork Orange, Park Theatre, Clifton Terrace, Finsbury Park, N4 3JP, Tuesday, February 14 to Saturday, March 18, 7.30pm and 3pm. Details: 020 7870 6876,