The Actor’s Wheel, The Desmond Tutu Theatre, May 19th 2015
The Actor’s Wheel, a company of students from Marjon’s BA(Hons) Acting degree course devised their own production based on Percy Bysshe Shelley’s ‘Swellfoot the Tyrant’. We were treated to a preview performance before they head off for a tour of Greece. The namesake of this productions tyrant, Swellfoot played by Connor Reed was King of the pigs. His movements were grotesque and the actors playing Swellfoots base (Lisa Webber, Lucas Emms, John James McColl and Chelsea Vincent) showed strength and control as they spent much of the performance carry him about in some interesting positions.
The production explores social standings and politics through animals. The actors portrayed pigs which gave a dirty and underworld feel to the content. The rich were repressing the poor and consequently the poor were getting poorer. The costumes conveyed this in a simple yet intelligent way. The actors had backpacks on their fronts. The poor pigs had empty and ragged backpacks while the rich had full and new backpacks.
Iona/She played by Tiffany Bird leads a revolution as the poor rise up against the rich and powerful but when the dust has settled all is not as expected. The clever twist (which I shall not reveal) was intriguing and rounded off the plot.
The news bulletin style writing which scrolled along the backdrop was thought provoking as it revealed how the story related to our current affairs and also what it might be like if certain events were to happen.
The actors have already refined their skills and will undoubtedly become professionals after being well prepared through this degree. The production had intellectual thoughts behind it and a strong and balanced cast. Considering this was a preview, it will be exciting to see what they produce next.