“All animals are equal. But some animals are more equal than others.”
I have been lucky enough to attend a preview of EUTCo’s adaptation of George Orwell’s Animal Farm, and I must say that I was extremely impressed with the result. Four months of hard work have truly paid off, culminating in a visually impressive show coupled with some truly fantastic performances. An imaginative revisiting of Peter Hall’s dramatisation of the novel, this is one show not to miss in the busy drama season.
the commitment to their roles made me forget they were human
From the opening scene, I was captivated by the passion showed by the cast, and the masterfully detailed world crafted by the crew, headed by Abi Clarke and Holly Williams. From here, it never lost steam, and I was enraptured the whole way through. Similarly to the West End production of War Horse, some of the animals are brought to life by puppets operated by actors visible onstage; far from breaking the illusion, the commitment to their roles made me forget they were human, which was ironic given the nature of the subject matter.
this is one show not to miss in the busy drama season
As well as puppeteering, there were sections of physical theatre, which, often combined with an originally scored soundtrack, were particularly impressive, both due to the audacity and physicality of the manoeuvres, as well as the emotional response which they triggered. They veered from moving to horror-inducing, the cruelty of some of the characters becoming truly palpable. The subtle prop work was also very good, the minimalistic costumes added to the feeling of scarcity and the desperate situation in which the animals eventually find themselves in.
All of this would not be possible without a tremendous cast, who took the difficult task of playing barnyard animals and really “go all the way” in portraying them. They made me laugh, cry, and occasionally scared. Whether you’ve read the novel, or haven’t even heard of it, I urge you to go and watch this play; you will not be disappointed.
“Animal Farm” is being performed at the Northcott Theatre from the 18th to the 21st January, at 7.30pm. Bookings: exeternorthcott.co.uk or 01392 726363