Animal Farm*** (Assembly George Square, Edinburgh)

Posted: August 13, 2014 in Theatre

animal farmFollowing Headlong’s 1984, George Orwell adaptations seem in vogue at the moment. This one is adapted and directed by Guy Masterson and performed by the Tumanishvili Actors’ Theatre of Tbilisi. It is seen here as a piece of physical theatre, with the story of animals taking over their farm from its two-legged owners being told on surtitles above the stage. The chief problem with Animal Farm Is that, even more than 1984, it is an obvious allegory – “animalism” in the story is, of course, really communism. On the page, the allegory can work, but, transferred to the stage it is exposed as a thinly disguised political tract, something like the antidote to Das Kapital. Orwell’s prescience in showing exactly how and why communist systems of government would disintegrate 45 years before they actually did so is astonishing, but, otherwise, the novel holds much less interest now for the British than, perhaps, for Georgians. However, the performers create many striking visual images which hold the attention and make this production worthwhile.

Performance date: 13 August 2014

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