Friday, 13 September 2019

“Foxfinder”by Dawn King
Nottingham Lace Market Theatre
The play was written in 2011 by Dawn King, a writer that I have not heard of before, and a play that I have not heard or seen before.
Set in the upstairs performing space of the Lace Market Theatre, the story takes on an even more intimate feel. With the majority of the scenes also set in the farmhouse kitchen, the wooden beams of the theatre made this even more realistic.
Set on a remote farm, the action takes place within the farm house kitchen belonging to Sam and Judith Covey, who are reeling from a personal loss, failing to meet the production targets on the farm, they receive a visitor by the name of William Bloor.
Bloor is a “foxfinder” whose job is to hunt out infestations of foxes, who are blamed for just about everything, including the poor performance of the farm and its’ produce. Rumour is spread that these “foxes” may have supernatural powers.
Bloor starts to investigate the Coveys, their farm and neighbours, prying into every crevice of their personal and professional lives. We soon discover though that Bloor also isn’t quite as perfect as first thought, and he has weaknesses of his own.
Malcolm Todd (Samuel) plays a really interesting character as, depending on how you look at the way Samuel is played, he could be playing along with the foxfinder to hunt out the foxes, or he could be more intelligent that what he is first given credit for. has he spotted a crack in Bloor's armour with him being so young, and is trying to lead him up the garden path by siding with the foxfinder. A clever character with whom the audience could be divided by his actions.A brilliant character role for Malcolm to get his teeth into.
Kareena Sims (Judith) pulled out her emotional side of her acting ability in Judith. Kareena portrays so much emotion in her face; you feel her frustration, her tiredness, her anger, her fear, but also her Grace. She has been pushed to the edge and is on the brink of doing something that Judith would seriously regret, when something stops her. I can only imagine that this is one role that would drain an actor due to the passion needed to play this character with the respect that is deserved.
Emily Kelsey (Sarah) is another actor who brings the emotions of the characters to life. The look of complete fear when she is being interrogated by Bloor was enough to chill your bones.
AJ Stevenson (William Bloor) gets to play one very interesting character in Bloor. His delivery of the script is perfectly detached and, at first I thought emotionless, but after a while the emotion oozed out and you realise that here is a man who has been brain washed into believing what has been drilled into him. And this makes the character dangerous. Bloor is 19 years old and we discover through his conversations with Judith that his life has been flawed since childhood. AJ's delivery is exact and deliberate and when Bloor visits Sarah, his whole approach is quite evil and calculated.
It's a very tense play and you could feel that tension. It's also a very emotive play as we discover the history of the characters, but it also has some lovely comic moments to relieve the intensity.
Director Chris Sims has amassed the best cast for this style of play and to be able to make an audience absorb that tense, and uneasy feeling, takes something special. It made me wish for the interval to come to break that unease, but then I couldn't wait for Act two to see what happened next. The ending was one that I didn't quite expect either.
The set is designed by Mark James, and the set changes were done smoothly, veiled by some very interesting and appropriate folk music, adding to the location feel.
Lighting Design by David Billen and Sound Design by Gareth Morris. This in particular painted mind pictures of the rural landscape beyond the theatre walls.
If you like intelligent, tension filled theatre, then this is the one to book your ticket for, if there are any left for Saturday. A powerful start to this new season's programme.
"Foxfinder” is at the Nottingham Lace Market Theatre until Saturday 14 September

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