William Bloor, a 'foxfinder', arrives at Sam and Judith Covey's farm to investigate a suspected contamination. He is driven by his education and beliefs to unearth and destroy an animal that threatens man's civilisation, and to remain free from its influence himself. As his investigations proceed, the events that follow change the course of all their lives - for ever.
A gripping and unsettling adult parable, Foxfinder is darkly comic exploration of belief, desire and responsibility, set in a world both strange and familiar.
Deb Relton-Elves is making her directorial debut with this fascinating modern play.
Winner of the 2011 Papatango playwriting competition and nominated for the 2013 James Tait Black Prize for Drama.
Foxfinder, Criterion Theatre, Coventry, until September 14. Running time 2 hours 20 mins.
An exciting directing debut for Deb Relton-Elves in what even she admits could have been a risky play set in a future world that had more in common with the seventeenth century Salem witch trials.
But Deb took no chances with her four-strong cast which features one relative newcomer and three with great track-records.
Above all I was so impressed with the mesmerising performance of Chris Firth as depressed farmer Samuel Covey, every gesture so perfectly measured and meticulous in its observation - and all in such contrast to his role as the New York corporate executive in last year's Visiting Mr Green.
How far this young actor has travelled and perhaps what a debt he owes to veterans of this most excellent of amateur theatre companies.
And praise for Chris and the way he inhabited his part certainly does not detract from the fine performances of Lucy Hayton, as frightened Judith, last seen in Anne Boleyn and Gypsy, or of Cathryn Bowler (Sarah) whose own long list of credits include the unforgettable Bed Among the Lentils.
The foxfinder himself was Jordan Jackson, who apparently grew his amazing hair to complement his role as the austere government official sent to root out the "contamination" that was to blame for factory workers going hungry in the cities.
A stark, thought-provoking play that makes terrific use of music and video projection to build the atmosphere and add underlying menace in a world where freedom of speech has become a luxury nobody can afford.
This work was also a worthy tribute to the late artist and talented set designer Louise Bagley, to whom it was dedicated.
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