‘Four legs good, two legs bad’: Marvellous Animal Farm production rolls into Newcastle Theatre Royal
The animals are mounting a revolution at the Theatre Royal
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There's a raucous revolution taking place at Newcastle's Theatre Royal this week.
A bunch of pigs, hens, dogs and a wise old workhorse have overthrown the humans in frightening fashion.
There's no need to worry though, the revolution is contained and not a threat to Geordie civilisation... it is just George Orwell's Animal Farm of course.
The play has rolled into Tyneside for half-term and is a fast-paced retelling of the Orwell novel.
Lasting 90 minutes and running straight through, the production sticks closely to the text and avoids cringe-worthy gimmicks.
The cast of animals is portrayed in a style made popular by the West End's revered War Horse, with cloaked humans intertwined in the bodies of animals.
It brings a lifelike movement to the creatures and the story's famous villain Napoleon comes to life in a terrifying manner - his full-circle turn to human at the end of the night is funny, but even more so eerie.
Toby Olié is the name behind that puppetry which is really the talking point of the night.
Napoleon's massive pig torso fills the stage when he's feeling his most potent, the workhorse Boxer is stoic in his plodding across the stage and Barbara the hen's baffled circles couldn't be more endearing.
Animal Farm has been directed by Robert Icke, who famously brought 1984 to both West End and Broadway.
Icke does stick closely to how Orwell would have intended, but quick side-eyes such as the throwaway 'Stay Alert' line add extra relevancy to the tale after the last couple years of political turbulence.
Given Animal Farm's ever presence on school curriculum, the Theatre Royal crowd on Tuesday night is populated by younger faces as well as older ones.
It truly is a spectacle for all the family, and with tickets from just £10, a must-do half-term activity.
Animal Farm plays at the Theatre Royal at 7:30 pm each night this week, with matinees at 2 pm on Wednesday and Thursday, and at 2:30 pm on Saturday.
You can get tickets here.