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Run the Beast Down at the Finborough Theatre

Published by: Carolin Kopplin on 5th Feb 2017 | View all blogs by Carolin Kopplin

Ben Aldridge. Image by Billy Rickards. (4).jpg

Ben Aldridge as Charlie

When I looked up, I saw him. Burnt orange, bright against the summer woods. He stood grandly on all fours, the King.

The Finborough Theatre, dedicated to new writing as well as rediscoveries of forgotten classics, presents the first play by writer, director and musician Titas Halder. Run the Beast Down is a fantasia about urban foxes, a surrealistic dream performed by Ben Aldridge, painted in a symphony of sound and lights. 

After being fired from his lucrative city job, Charlie finds his flat in a redeveloped council estate deserted - his girlfriend has left him. Suffering from insomnia after this double blow, Charlie begins to confuse reality and fantasy as he drifts into a world of dreamlike memories and hallucinations.

Charlie first introduces his neighbourhood - the elderly Mrs Winter who is worried about her cat Peter, named after her husband. The cat has disappeared and she fears that the foxes might have got him. But it might have been the feral kids on the estate whose aggression level is so high that they seem capable of anything. When he finds Peter savaged on his doorstep, Charlie starts to investigate and meets the Silver Man, Mrs Winter's brother. We also learn about Charlie's life as a banker - his mates and their local watering hole, a pub decorated with stuffed wildlife. An internal investigation ends Charlie's career.

As Charlie's sanity begins to deteriorate, he sees Mrs Winter's cat as a reincarnation of her husband, and even the stuffed animals in the pub gain special significance. He keeps contacting his ex-girlfriend assuming that she needs his help, which shows a somewhat obsessive behaviour. Eventually, the protagonist, who believes that he once met the King of the Foxes in the forest, starts identifying with the urban foxes, who have lost their natural shyness yet retained part of their feral nature as their disturbing shrieks echo through the night.

Under Hannah Price's creative direction, Ben Aldridge begins his performance at a leisurely pace, increasing the suspense and speed as the intense drama reaches its climax. He plays all the characters in his story including Mrs Winter and the King of Foxes. An online DJ, Chris Bartholomew, provides the musical soundscape, designed by ANoR (Andy & Fraser) and the inventive lighting design by Rob Mills and Robbie Butler add to the narrative.

A unique production that should not be missed.  

By Carolin Kopplin

Until 25th February 2017

Finborough Theatre

118 Finborough Road, London SW10 9ED

Box office: 020 7244 7439


Running time: 70 minutes with no interval.

Image by Billy Rickarts.


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