A ONE-MAN show portraying George Orwell’s life will close the first festival in the writer’s honour on Sunday.

Written and performed by actor Michael McEvoy, The Last Man in Europe will be the last event performed as part of the inaugural 10-day George Orwell Festival, held in Letchworth GC and Wallington, where the prolific author, journalist and political essayist lived between 1936-47.

The show, staged at St Mary the Virgin Church in Wallington, where Orwell got married, takes the audience through the extraordinary life of the author who in his influential novel Nineteen Eighty-Four introduced the concepts of Big Brother, Room 101, and Thoughtcrime, and whose best-selling fable Animal Farm was partly inspired by settings in and around the Wallington of the 1930s.

“This is the first time The Last Man in Europe has been performed in the very village that Orwell moved to in 1936,” said McEvoy.

“He was married in St Mary church in June of that year, and then lived close-by. This lends tremendous resonance to these festival performances.

“I have been a George Orwell fan all my life. Orwell was an extraordinary personality who used his rare talent for simple, clear writing to bring social wrongs to public attention. I wrote the play to get a handle on the writer’s motives. Why did he suddenly go off to Burma as a policeman? Why did he go tramping round Britain, posing as a down-and-out? What made him go off and fight in the Spanish Civil War?

“And, of course, why did he write what he wrote? Orwell has had several biographers, but I feel that there are certain aspects of his character that can be best explored through dramatic realisation.

“Orwell himself once said that good writing should be ‘like a window pane’. My intention in this play is to provide a clear window into the mind of this remarkable man.”

Tickets for The Last Man in Europe are priced at �10 and are available from Letchworth Garden City Tourist Information Centre in Station Road, Letchworth GC, David’s Bookshop in Eastcheap or from the event’s website – www.georgeorwellfestival.org