Friday, May 05, 2017

'Far From The Madding Crowd' by Thomas Hardy, adapted by Adrian Preater

5 May 2017

On Thursday we were at The Place in Bedford to see the Hotbuckle Productions performance of ‘Far From The Madding Crowd’, adapted from the novel by Thomas Hardy by Adrian Preater. It was an excellent show – high quality fringe theatre with four actors playing multiple parts. It had the feel of a  summer outdoor touring production with clear, accessible story-telling, live music and plenty of humour. They steered a course which avoided the danger of being worthy but dull, while not making the comedy too broad and pantomimic. The play used narration passing between each of the four actors in turn, creating a sequential relay Greek Chorus (as in the Propeller production of ‘Henry V’, reviewed here in December 2011, and Polly Findlay’s production of ‘Antigone’ at the National Theatre, reviewed here in June 2012).   The actors – Adrian Preater, Virginia Lee, Mimi Edwards and Matthew Rothwell – were all excellent, conjuring up their different characters through changes of stance and facial expression as much as with costume changes. It was a very likeable and moving performance.

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