Stars explained: * A production of no real merit with failings in all areas. ** A production showing evidence of not enough time or effort, or even talent, and which never breathes any real life into the piece – or a show lumbered with a terrible script. *** A good enjoyable show which might have some small flaws but has largely achieved what it set out to do.**** An excellent show which shows a great deal of work and stage craft with no noticeable or major flaws.***** A four star show which has found that extra bit of magic which lifts theatre to another plane.
Half stars fall between the ratings

Foxy work at Highbury


Highbury Theatre Centre


HIGHBURY Players continue to add to their dramatic credential s with a relatively contemporary work  Foxfinder, Dawn King’s 2011 dystopian British parable. It’s a play that continually has you drawing your own personal references to modern life, wrapped up in a sort of nervous, big brother, period drama.

It centres on the premise that farming has been taken over by the Government and farm folk are now vetted and scrutinised in an ever more personal manner as to their quotas and their personal lives.

One such farm is run by Sam and Judith, a young couple who have fallen behind with their output and have suffered a series of misfortunes. This all promotes the arrival of a Mr Bloor, a young trained government inspector, whose duty it is to report on the potential infestation of Foxes on the farm.

The foxes are more than the creature we know as they are said to have additional powers that affect the morality and health of those in their proximity.

It’s a mysterious mix of witchcraft and Orwellian power that brings fear to the common working folk and the potential for the abuse of power and corruption of the governing officials.

In the studio theatre it took a little time before you could fully grasp the situation but as the details unravel you feel  entwined in the personal space of Sam and Judith’s rickety cottage and something of a voyeur on some very personal and adult happenings.

The principal roles of Sam and Judith were played by Jayne Lunn and Mark Natrass who are reunited after their previous co performance at Highbury in Dusk Rings A bell. Jayne Lunn was every bit the anxious wife who is facing the introspection of the Foxfinder and the issues of her recent personal tragedies. Her opposite Mark matched her in pathos, nicely capturing the personality of simple, yet experienced man who in the end takes matters into his own hands.

Niko Adilypour was William, the Government’s slimy Foxfinder, literally tortured by the severity of his indoctrination to serve the law but deviously weak in his ability to uphold it or his own values.

Finally there is Sarah, played by Louise Grifferty, the neighbour who sheds light on the crumbling political system and aids in the propaganda of truth.

As a company they did a splendid job of presenting this dark future countryside mystery and did not hold back from the moments of pure intimacy when they occurred.

Foxfinder does not provide any answers but instead selects an array of real issues such as government intervention, quangos, and the abuse of power and sets them into an alternative reality to deliver this brooding tale.

Directed by Fay Hatch and with an effective set by Malcolm Robertshaw and again Mark Natrass, Highbury have proven yet again that they are cut above other companies when it comes to presenting new and challenging contemporary works on the amateur stage. To 07-06-14

Jeff Grant


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