Adelaide Fringe 2013
Guy Masterson re-enacts George Orwell’s satire on Communism with panache and brings vigour and a distinctive feel to each character. His performance is remarkable in this part narrative, part enactment show and he has a hold on the audience from start to finish.
The set is a bale of hay, but the simplicity juxtaposes the dramatic and violent story that unfolds. Old Major’s dream of an animal utopia where all animals are equal and live out the course of their lives as nature intended fuels the rebellion against humans led by the pigs, Snowball, Napoleon and Squealer. Masterson is faithful to the novel and enacts each scene shifting dexterously between characters, adopting their distinct characteristics and mannerisms. For two hours he is a bundle of energy and intrigue playing out the story.
After the successful rebellion against Farmer Jones and the other humans on Manor Farm Animalism is established and the seven doctrines adapted from Old Major’s opening speech. All of the animals are happy and work together under the leadership of the pigs. However this Golden Era does not last long when boorish Napoleon overthrows Snowball’s rule and the circle of tyranny continues as the pigs increasingly resemble humans.
In true Masterson style his performance and talent fires the audience’s imaginations to set the scene and accompany him on a journey to the murky depths of human nature. With a few sound and light effects the mood is conveyed and ambiance established, but all eyes are on Masterson as he shuffles, leaps, squeals and grunts on stage.
Masterson is unafraid to tackle the complex issues of society and politics through his interpretation of classic, well-known pieces of literature. Animal Farm is no exception and has resulted in sell-out shows at this year’s Adelaide Fringe Festival.