Skip to main content

Animal Farm at The Royal & Derngate (Royal), Northampton

There was an impressive number of boxes on display in the Northampton University Actors performance of Animal Farm at the Royal & Derngate. Poor old Boxer (Jamie O'Grady) seemed to be the only one dealing with them for a while.

These boxes turned out to be more or less the only bit of the set (bar an occasional ribbon "can I still wear my ribbons?" and an old style microphone), and they sure worked well in this heavily stripped back eighty minute version of Orwell's classic tale of power and destruction.

However as well as the boxes, there was some mighty fine talent on display from the student (who would know?) actors. Playing serious, playing for laughs, or clucking and mooing, the cast was exemplary. I don't doubt that we shall see a lot more of many of these performers.

Its difficult to single out any individuals from such a quality bunch of performers, but Harry Bradbury was commanding as Comrade Napolean, Brigette Wellbelove clipped and precise as Squealer and Richard Harley really was superb in the small role of Minimus, including impromptu mid-show round of applause for his perfectly performed song.

The production also has some glorious fight sequences excellently choreographed by Tom Jordan, which coupled with quality music from musical director DJ Wade added the drama of the story.

Having watched the solid, masterpiece A Tale Of Two Cities a couple of weeks before from the same seat, I did wonder whether a student production could live up to it. However I am thoroughly wrong in ever having a doubt, because this is super solid show of immense quality, with a highly confident cast, and one that can only be highly recommended.

*

You have just one more chance to see this performance on Saturday 22nd at 7:45

Popular posts from this blog

Review of DNA by University of Northampton BA Actors at Jacksons Lane Theatre, Highgate, London

The final year performances of BA Actors this year upped sticks and headed away from their Northampton Royal territory and gathered to show their skills in London.

The first of the three shows being performed was Dennis Kelly's DNA, a play which I saw performed on the Royal stage itself four years ago. I enjoyed it for its dark mysterious nature and was looking forward to seeing a different interpretation of the show. It tells the tale of a group of youngsters who do something really bad, and proceed to attempt to cover it up, resulting in the real bad, well, getting more bad. It's dark yes, but also, very funny at times.

It opens with a looming movement piece of theatre, which I always love and this was no different for me, brooding and sinister. It's quite a long opening, which perhaps, in the end, becomes too long, but it's a fabulous piece of theatre for me. It set's the scene very well for Kelly's dark piece to unfold and in the hands of these, about to gr…

Flash Festival 2018: Persecuted by United-Force Theatre Company at Hazelrigg House, Northampton

It's perhaps a shame that the major talking point after United-Force Theatre Company's production of Persecuted is its final scene, and more so over the sheer realism of it, rather than anything directly related to the acting and writing of it. The shame is that it overshadows what is quite a brilliant piece of theatre in its own right, well constructed and superbly acted by the trio in the group, Alexander Forrester-Coles, Chris Tyler and Radostin Radev.

The date is 11th May 2005 and the Iraq War is no longer having the initial success that it had after destroying Sadam Hussain's regime. In a camp in Basra, Mohammed bin Osama bin Laden (Radostin Radev) is captured and under interrogation by commander James Farrell (Alexander Forrester-Coles), the good cop of the story, and Dan (Chris Tyler),  a Lieutenant, very much of the bad cop variety.

It's an ugly, but also a very vivid tale, claustrophobic and always intimidating. When the actors are not churning through the int…

Flash Festival 2018: Drained by Open Eye Theatre at Hazelrigg House, Northampton

Back in 2015 when I was attending my second year at the Flash Festival, I had the pleasure of seeing a show called I Forget What I’ve Forgotten, a solo show performed by the superb Catherine Garlick, it was very much based on personal experiences, and it was one of very few Flash shows that I have made time to see a second time. That second time, it became the only Flash that I stood at the end of (to date), and it was the first that emotionally hit me hard.

While I didn't stand at the end of Open Eye Theatre's Drained (I was incredibly close), it left me a spent force of emotion. My fellow blogger and companion of the week The Real Chrisparkle, witnessed my tears, and I was actually perhaps as emotional as I have ever been at the end of any theatre show.

Drained was a slow burner of emotion, which I guess just gently took hold like no other before. Our three characters, Laura (Bryony Ditchburn) and her two brothers, Will (Robert Charles) and Jamie (Jake Wyatt) gather at the wa…