animal cast

Equality . . . for some, when animals ruled the farm.

Picture: Manuel Harlan

Animal Farm

Wolverhampton Grand


I was very much looking forward to seeing this show and I have to say it didn’t disappoint. Like many of my generation I studied the book at school and its themes have stayed with me to this day.

As Robert Icke, the Director, puts it “The novel uses animals to think about humans and the ways in which power structures and hierarchies form, even when everybody has made the conscious decision to get rid of those things”

Thanks to a wonderful troupe of puppeteers in this stage production the animals are brought to life and interact with one another in very effective ways.

At the opening of the play we are introduced to Old Major, a benevolent old, prize winning boar with a strong vision of an equal, fairer society.

When Major dies other pigs come to the fore with Snowball initially taking the lead until he is eventually overthrown by the ruthless Napoleon. We even have a minister of propaganda, Squeela, who cynically spins everything.

Following a short revolution and the banishment of the cruel, drunkard Manor Farm owner the angry pigs take control and ‘Animal Farm’ is to be run under Old Major’s eight commandments. As time goes by these are of course rewritten and reduced in number to one whilst a sort of dictatorship under Napoleon take control.

The overall staging is simple with an effective screen above the stage providing time lines together with the escalating body count of those lost in battle.

Huge credit must be given to Toby Olle’ for his puppetry design and to Jon Clarke’s lighting, sliding panels from Bunny Christie and very effective, often pulsating, sound design from Tom Gibbons.

An intriguing and innovative production which runs to 21-05-22 and well worth a visit.

Rob Phillips


Index page Grand Reviews A-Z Reviews by Theatre