Geek Theatre Review: Fahrenheit 451

I was really looking forward to this show, as I have very recently read Ray Bradbury’s classic sci-fi novel  and seen the film adaptation. So having seen it in 2 medias I was incredibly curious as to how it’s  transference to a 3rd would work.

This production is by the ExADUS theatre Company a group of ex students from Ashbury School in Kent and for some theatrically snobby reason that didn’t fill me with a great deal of hope.  Also the program made mention of it being a ‘physical’ production and that made me wonder if I’d signed up to a conceptualised interpretive version.

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The small theatre was full and while the audience filed in, the actors, one by one, walked onto the stage reading books, until all 7 cast members were there, and they never left.  The set and costumes conformed to a palate of greys and blacks and reds which meshed well with the themes of fire, ashes and enforcement.

The show opened with a burst of music from Firestarter by the Prodigy (while this was a recurring audio theme, the director quite sensibly never let the lyrics be heard)and an illusion which saw each cast member transform a book into a shower of ashes.

Ooh thats good, I thought sitting up.  The 7 cast members never left the stage and did indeed use some physical theatre to segue between scenes, character entrances, to represent burning and other actions – and they did it well, not to the extent where you marvelled at their physical skills but in a way that served the narrative admirably.

The actors were well cast and enjoyable and I was particularly taken by Linda Horsburg who portrayed the delightfully odd Clarisse.  Also worth a mention is Keir Watson whose fantastic rendition of the Chief could have been a little more menacing by being a little less menacing.

But how to adapt a story like this to a one hour stage show.  The creators have taken some liberties with the story, contracting bits, mssing out others and even adding to the mythos.  They have however made sure to hit all the relavant key points – Montags growing sense of dilemma, his domestic frustration, the relationships between himself and the Chief, Clarisse and Professor Faber, which were all handled in a way that really summed up their essence. This was established remarkably well considering how short a time they had in which to do it.

One of the highlights for me was the Chief’s speech about books in which Keir Watson really earned his stripes, a speech that I am considering memorising myself.

What this theatre group has done is to produce a piece of work that really achieves its aim of summing up Bradbury’s upsettlingly accurate prediction of what our media has become. A thouroughly enjoyable and genuinely moving play.  Well done Exadus.  If your in Edinburgh you can catch them at the vault until the 22nd of August

Rating: 4 Stars

GS Reporter: Monts

Source: Live from Edinburgh

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2 comments

  1. Anon /

    It’s Ashby School in Ashby-de-la-Zouch, Leicestershire.

  2. Monts /

    There’s really a place called de-la Zouch. Class!
    My bad – don’t know where I got Kent from

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