Dawn King’s dystopian play, in which foxes are believed to be enemies of the state, is directed by Rachel O’Riordan and stars Poldark’s Heida Reed, a simple famers wife and Game of Thrones actor Iwan Rheon the threatening yet mysterious pest control “specialist”. Originally planned to run until January 5, the show closed on October 20 instead, which was rather shocking to hear.
I saw that the play had been faced with a fair few negative reviews, however, as a fairly new play I thought it was a fun, freaky storyline, which had a lot of potential to influence the masses and get imaginations running. It definitely caused discussion between my friends and I about politics and the ideas of a dystopian world.
The play beings with farmers Judith and Samuel Covey (Heida Reed and Paul Nicholls) anxiously awaiting the arrival of William Bloor (Iwan Rheon). After suffering months of worsening crops, they’ve attracted the government’s attention. Their livelihoods depend on William’s investigation. But what will this ‘foxfinder’ conclude?
Iwan Rheon is the main star and attraction of this production, known for his creepily terrifying characters in Misfits and Game of Thrones, his performance in this piece is just as mesmerising. His crystal clear voice carried through the audience with a bone chilling breeze. All acting was to a high standard, great connections and believable relationships between the characters, with clear intentions and desires. Bloor’s realisations that he may have been brainwashed into believing Fox’s are evil provides a nerve-rattling, uncomfortable vibe as you cannot guess what his character is going to do.
The set design was simple but affective, hardly any scene changes, predominately set in a small farmers house and their woodland land. This was a nice contrast between the ideas of being confined and being free. Upon later discussions, the play had my friends and I discussing the accommodating climate change, religious fanaticism and nationalist politics, and most prevalent, British Brexit. The Foxfinder himself leaves the audience wondering if he and other characters really are right in believing foxes are the route of all evil or if they have been completely brainwashed.
As much as I enjoyed the show and watching Ramsey Bolton, the show is let down by never getting a consistent grip on the terseness of the script. There are moments of dark wit, but the uncertainty drowns the show rather than exploring deeper issues they play could have delved into. Leaving with ideas, I didn’t feel fulfilled or heavily mentally stimulated. This play does have a lot of potential to mirror a current society and open the minds and opinions of its audience. However, I am sad to see it close early and I would have recommended theatre lovers and budding writers to attending this piece. At least, give it a read.