Monday, August 9, 2010


Theatre Royal
5 August 2010

By Lucy Wilson Magnus

Fox is a story about an injured magpie, a one-eyed dog and a seductive wolf, based on the classic picture book by Margaret Wild and Ron Brooks This slick one-hour adaptation by Monkey Baa (in association with Siren Theatre Co) is pitched for “eight to 108 year olds”.
The show is opera, physical theatre, puppetry and projections, all of which director Kate Gaul rolls powerfully into one. The cohesion of all these elements is something often attempted yet seldom successfully achieved in this age of multi-faceted theatre, but in Fox it all hums together in a satisfying harmony.

The tale is sung by Spirit, opera soprano Sarah Jones, who eruditely and beautifully sings the story for nearly the entire show. This is impressive yet despite her careful diction, the demands of the genre mean only a few words audibly make it through. The emotion keeps rolling out though in Daryl Wallis’s composition and David Gilfillan’s sound design.

Three physical performers play out the drama. A favourite moment was David Buckley’s playful and agile rendition of a dog’s typical antics and chasing its tail. This was a mischievous, waggish window in an otherwise dramatic swathe of red flowing fabric, repeated movements and serious looks from dark kohl eyes.

In the magpie’s desire to fly, and fly faster on the back of hounds, this production creates poetic imagery. While the chase finds resonance, the overall sustained tension, volume and frequency becomes relentless, perhaps like the heat of the desert the magpie eventually finds herself in.
Fox continues its six-month national tour, next stop in Launceston at the Earl Arts Centre from Tues 10 – Thurs 12 August at 7pm, and Thurs 12 August at 1pm.

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