Animal Farm: Zenith Youth Theatre, Bath
Zenith Youth Theatre
Mission Theatre Bath
Adapted by Peter Hall into a musical, this version of Animal Farm is still the same allegorical tale of power corrupting, or more accurately one of the Russian revolution and subsequent rise of Stalin.
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It's a great ensemble piece for the huge cast of Zenith Youth and probably gave some of the young actors food for thought.
Much simpler than the book, it's still the tale of the farm animals rising against drunken Farmer Jones and take over the running of the farm for the good of all, seeing man as the only enemy.
Pigs being the cleverer they take control with Napoleon, a wonderfully evil skinhead version convincingly played by Matt Bromwich, gradually ousting his nicer rival Snowball (Sam Cochrane). Later he also sees his loyal, but by now exhausted, supporter, Boxer the workhorse (Joseph Hollingworth) taken to the knackers yard under the guise of a visit to the vet.
Eventually some animals become much more equal than others as the pigs become replicas of the hated humans.
It's a huge, terrific set and with an equally large cast who can all sing well, many playing musical instruments too. There aren't any complicated animal costumes, just simple motifs and clothes signifying sheep, pigs, chickens and cows.
Not a long play, it still packs a relevant punch. With no time for lapses in action, attention is always demanded and all is held together by the excellent narrator, Cara Withers.