Fear and foxes: a picture of dystopian Britain

Art & Lit Stage

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A dark drama portraying a dystopian Britain, Foxfinder does well to create a mood and atmosphere that gets its audience thinking. The play depicts the life of a couple, struggling with the recent loss of their son, in a world not suited for grief. The elusive and dangerous figure of the fox hangs over them – a beast with the power to manipulate the minds of men and also responsible for the starvation prevalent in Britain. A representative from the government, known as a Foxfinder, has come to investigate the recent drop in the farm’s productivity. If things don’t go well, the couple stands to lose their land – a fate that means exile to the cities, where the life span of a factory worker is three years. What does the future hold for this struggling couple?

The play is extremely interesting; some scenes have the audience watching with bated breath. Particularly compelling is the scene where the Foxfinder questions the couple’s friend. The tension is palpable, the audience fearing the consequences of this interrogation. Any faults in the play were mostly to be found in the writing and other than that, the direction was superb. Almost every choice made enhanced the drama and tension of the production.

There were some great performances. The role of Judith was especially compelling. She must deal with her own grief and be her husband’s main pillar of support; yet constant intrusions on the part of the Foxfinder make her life increasingly difficult. Her pain is evident in her intonation, expression and movement and she was entirely believable at every moment.

The director chose to set this performance with the audience on two perpendicular sides; because of the nature of this layout, the audience often only saw the actors’ backs and was unable to read their expressions. The sound was a bit clumsy, as was the lighting at times – but overall this did not take away from the execution. Foxfinder is rich and unnerving. The cast and crew bring more out of the play than one would think on seeing the script.

Foxfinder is writer Dawn King’s first play, and is showing at the Keble O’Reilly Theatre at 7.30pm until Saturday 2nd November . Tickets £9/£7, available here.