Opening with the plaintiff dialogue of Old Major (Oisin Lyons) about the injustices of Manor Farm run by Mr Jones (Ire Alade), the play quickly moves to the revolution instigated by Snowball (Stephanie Walker) and Napoleon (Imogen Bews) and the establishment of a new regime at Animal Farm based on the seven principals of ‘animalism’ where ‘Four legs good: two legs bad’ is the keystone. Soon idealism is replaced by ambition; Snowball is chased away and a more sinister regime begins to emerge. One of the highlights was the way that Napoleon became a stronger and a more menacing influence through the play. While Benjamin (Campbell Trueman) has the wisdom and courage to express his doubts about the growing hypocrisies of the new regime and as Napoleon and Squealer (Natallia Mudkavi) set up home in Mr Jones’ farmhouse, others are more willing to just work harder to make a flawed system work better. Boxer (Matthew Bain) exemplifies this best of all and there is a feeling of horror among the audience as he is taken away to the ‘animal hospital’ when his usefulness to Napoleon and the farm is exhausted. The behaviour of the animals and the former human masters becomes ever more similar as the play draws to a close until eventually even the original name of the farm is restored and the animals have developed all the vices of the former regime. Throughout the play, there were lovely vignettes – the vanity of Molly the horse who couldn’t resist the ribbons and attention of the humans; the performance of Clover (Katie Hindle ) constantly seeking to make sense of the disparities between the aspirations of animalism and the behaviour of the Pigs while Morgan Thomson and Ann McKeever act like chorus to the pronouncements of Squealer who justifies the statements and reconciles the contradictory pronouncements of Napoleon. This production successfully negotiated its way through the allegorical maze set by Orwell.
The pupils and Ms Williams put on a spectacular show and could not have done it without those pupils who helped backstage and with lighting, sound and all other technical aspects of the production.
Well done to all those involved!
Here is one of the many lovely reviews of Animal Farm:
Congratulations to you (Ms Williams and your team- and to especially the children!- for last nights performance. I could actually feel the spirit of the revolution and then slow turn of manipulation occurring during the show. Really excellently done.
Animal Farm was superb last night! I really enjoyed the show – it was very slick and showcased a great deal of talent.
That was a very powerful and engrossing performance last night.
The characters are all so believable and the whole cast performed with such conviction.
Wonderful soundtrack and great attention to detail in costumes and set.
I am very happy to be be able to experience it all over again tonight.
Thank you so much and to all involved for all the work that has gone into this great production.