Thursday, 20 September 2018

THEATRE | FOXFINDER STARRING IWAN RHEON & HEIDA REED


I remember being really into dystopian novels when I was in high school, something about a strange and dangerous alternate world really fascinated me, along with the relatability of the suffering of human characters (kind of grim when I think back on it, but it's true). Unfortunately I've lost quite a bit of my reading mojo since then and it took a new play announcement lead by Game of Throne's Iwan Rheon and the promise of a dark dystopian tale to jog my memory back to school libraries and pique my interest to book tickets to see Foxfinder


Ambassadors Theatre was one of the few play venues in London that I'd never set foot in beforehand though I'd always walk past it on the way to the Donmar. On first inspection, it's built much like your traditional West End theatres, only fractionally smaller. When the curtain first opened to reveal the stage, my breath was stolen by how beautiful I found the design, a perfect bleed of a rustic house interior into a dark forest with trees bursting from the floor and reaching towards the high ceilings. Unfortunately, I soon learnt that there wouldn't be much else for me to praise beyond the set design. Foxfinder tells the story of a farmer couple, the Coveys (Heida Reed and Paul Nicchols) who fear they will not make their annual harvest quota. A "foxfinder" named William Bloor (Iwan Rheon), trained by a seemingly authoritarian government institute from a young age, has been elected to stay with them to find out if the reason behind their failed produce are "foxes". Soon after realising they've never actually even seen any of these so-called "foxes" in their lives, they start to ponder whether it's all just a government conspiracy to keep the citizens in check and also whether it has anything to do with the death of their son. 


I don't know about you, but I found the sound of that plot absolutely riveting. If that were the synopsis of a novel or film, I'd go read/see it in a heartbeat. This production however, doesn't seem to be able to execute this story to it's full potential. I found the acting rather wooden and bland across all fronts (gosh I feel terrible admitting that in writing but it's my honest opinion). Even Iwan, who I think did such a great job in GoT and Misfits, seems a little out of place as the young, brainwashed Bloor, and the gradual lead up to the questioning of his beliefs or loss of innocence doesn't pack the punch that I'd hoped for in the end. Both Iwan and Heida noticeably stumbled over their lines at least once during the play too, though it should be noted that it was still in previews when I watched it. Then again, I watch many plays whilst they are still in previews so I personally don't think this is a valid excuse. In my humble opinion, Paul Nicholls gave the most believable performance of the lot, his anguish and rage for his lost son conflicting with his logic, but it just wasn't enough to pull this production together, which is a shame as I think the story had real potential. Several times during the seemingly dragged out two hours I found myself almost nodding off and wishing it would pick up in pace and atmosphere only to finally reach a severely anti-climatic ending. 


I'm sorry for being a negative nancy but I honestly can't recommend this play however much I want to say otherwise. Maybe if you're a die-hard fan of one of the actors you could justify seeing it and on the other hand, Iwan, Heida, and Paul were all exceptionally lovely when I met them at stage door afterwards.


Foxfinder is at Ambassadors Theatre until the 5th of January 2019 and you can find tickets here.

Share:
Blogger Template Created by pipdig