As Foxfinder makes its way to London’s West End at the Ambassador’s Theatre, Game of Thrones fans are excited to see the performance of one of the show’s stars, Iwan Rheon. There’s been a trend lately of actors from the popular fantasy series taking to stages at the West End, but it hasn’t always worked in their favour. With Foxfinder, Rheon falls a bit flat, but the show as a whole isn’t bad. While it most likely won’t be winning any awards or becoming an iconic production, it is an entertaining dystopian story that is well worth the price of admission.
Foxfinder tells the story of a failing, divided Britain. Not quite post-apocalyptic, but certainly in a time that might seem like the end is near for the country. Resources are scarce, tribalism is high, and the climate is making everything worse by continuing to degrade. If it weren’t for the fact that the story was written in 2011, some might think that this was an alarmist portrayal of post-Brexit Britain, divisive as it may.
The story itself is fascinating and disturbing, and those who haven’t yet heard it will get plenty of entertainment from the writing alone. However, the direction of Rachel O’Riordan leaves a bit to be desired, as the story seems to drag on for much of the performance. The audience is teased with captivating ideas and potential scenarios, but by the time anything actually arrives, they have been lost to various asides, and generally left underwhelmed by the big reveals.
Still, the intrigue instilled in the audience is enough to keep the play worth watching. Paul Nicholls’ performance as Samuel alone may be the major saving grace of the production, but Heida Reed (Judith) and Bryony Hannah put in solid efforts that keep the story moving along. The major disappointment is from Iwan Rheon, who seems rather emotionless in the role of William, one that should be more passionate and interesting. If you are considering seeing Foxfinder simply because you love Game of Thrones, you may want to steer clear of this performance. It’s never pretty when an otherwise great actor puts forth a lacklustre presentation.
If, however, you simply want an entertaining, dark story that will give you plenty to think about, Foxfinder is a quality production that offers just enough to keep you engaged. The lighting and set design alone create a mood that draws the audience in almost instantaneously, and the actors who actually do put in a solid performance more than makeup for the let-down of the big-name stars. Not every piece you see at the West End needs to be a masterpiece – it’s okay to settle for something that is just entertaining – and this fits the bill perfectly. Perfection isn’t a word anybody will be using for this rendition of Foxfinder, but it certainly isn’t an overall failure. It is a strong story that has some major setbacks, but will generally please those who aren’t expecting the world.