I have a small
obsession with 20th century Russian history, and for anyone like me Animal Farm
is a set text. The last time I saw Animal Farm, it was as a cartoon. Some of the
depth and powerfulness of the messages were lost and it was reduced to little
more than a child’s fable.
I was wary of this
performance of Animal Farm, from the pen of Guy Masterson. It could so easily
have been reduced to a re-telling of the book, without feeling or passion. However,
single-handedly taking on Orwell’s classic, Lizzie Wort makes an amazing stage
presence, as the storyteller and every member of the cast, be it bovine, feline
Masterson’s play, as did Orwell’s original text, exemplifies a stark and moving
revelation of the horrors seen in apparently civilised society. A well-chosen
performer is needed to convey these concepts. The allegory, the metaphors, and
the shocking notions exemplified in the story of the rebellion by the animals
of Manor Farm are portrayed by Lizzie in this one-(wo)man show in a manner that
shows understanding and competence. She has the energy, enthusiasm and ability
to do it. This is a play that leaves you tired thorough just watching the performer
Lizzie is a very pretty girl, but as she told us after last night’s show, she
is terrified that the faces she has to pull to make herself look Napoleon the
pig may leave her with wrinkles when she is older. She says, "It’d be worth it,"
and I couldn’t agree more. To be able to perform this piece with the passion and
quality that she does is a huge achievement, and one she should be proud of it.
Words: Emma Hardy