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Animal Farm

Animal Farm

George Orwell

1 - 8 December 2012

James Firth-Haydon & Tim Rowlands

The downtrodden beasts of Manor Farm oust the drunken farmer but the pigs soon succumb to the temptations of privilege and power.

Double-bill with The Browning Version


Performances

Sat 7:45pm, Mon 7:45pm, Tue 7:45pm, Wed 7:45pm, Thu 7:45pm, Fri 7:45pm, Sat 2:45pm, Sat 7:45pm

Synopsis

When the downtrodden beasts of Manor Farm oust the drunken farmer, all are awash in a collective zeal. Too soon, however, the pigs, who consider themselves superior in intelligence, succumb to the temptations of privilege and power.

This fast moving dramatisation of George Orwell's classic satire is fresh and immensley enjoyable without jeopardising the savagery of the original material.

Director's Notes

Animal Farm is regarded as one of the greatest works of twentieth century literature and this adaptation holds up to this esteem. The use of narration is still strong and the animal characters bring to light the important political and moral issues of the novel.

The Youth workshop leaders have spent much thought on the casting of these brilliant characters and the children and young adults are excited about the venture. Along with James and Tim they will utilize their brilliant imaginations and performance skills to agitate the audience into a revolution!

Review

George Orwell’s Animal Farm was first published in 1945 and since then it has been studied, translated throughout the world, filmed and adapted by Peter Hall for the National Theatre in 1985. This ‘fairy story’ as Orwell called it continues to fascinate and pose questions to its audience. The simple fable of animals and the subsequent corruption of power and rebellion can be seen on many levels. It is a timeless story that illuminates the human condition by using animals to show us what is perhaps unpalatable about ourselves.

Orwell described what gave him the idea for the setting.

“...I saw a little boy, perhaps ten years old, driving a huge carthorse along a narrow path, whipping it whenever it tried to turn. It struck me that if only such animals became aware of their strength we should have no power over them, and that men exploit animals in much the same way as the rich exploit the proletariat.”

It is apt that LLT chose to stage this production with their Youth Theatre. It is at this time when many young people start to become aware of, and interested in, issues such as freedom, oppression and how the world works.
What wonderfully imaginative parts these are for actors. The cast, some as young as ten, concentrated throughout, at ease with each other and their audience, they brought out the humour and charm that is part of this piece.
Therefore when the story takes a dark turn this helped create the appropriate pathos. In particular, the moving role of Boxer was very well portrayed by Inez Skilling with sensitivity and imagination. Gem Bennington-Poulter strode the stage and owned the part of the animal leader who becomes the dictator - Napoleon - with authority and charisma. Rupert Flowers as Squealer the pig, played as a bureaucratic control freak, was concentrated and committed in his characterisation and brought out the humour well.

The Youth Theatre put together this production over three months, meeting only once a week. If they had more time I’m sure the directors Tim Rowland
and James Firth-Haydon would have developed the physicality of the characters the young cast created. I really liked the retro picture book feel of the set. Congratulations to designer Chris Berry and the team.
It is great to see emerging talent at LLT and a number of audience members commented on this. Mounting a double bill with the Youth Theatre and an adult play is an excellent way of encouraging members to support budding actors.

Lucy Fitchett