What does the fox say: Run The Beast Down @Finborough
It is a hedonistic and hectic life in this one-hander about a man called Charlie. He can't sleep. He lost his job and there is this fox following him about. It's playing now at the Finborough Theatre.
Played by Ben Aldridge, you are never quite sure what is real and illusory. But there's a thrilling and pulsating soundtrack by Chris Bartholomew underscoring the madness that makes it a trip worth taking down the foxhole.
It opens with Charlie finding that his girlfriend has left him and he lost his city job. He is living in a partially gentrified council estate and the neighbours cat has gone missing. But after that things begin to get a bit weird. The nights become something for his imagination to run wild. Soon paranoia, fear and destruction take over.
Aldridge holds your attention throughout as he becomes a confusing and delusional narrator. At times he speaks directly at you. His Charlie is earnest. Honest. And maybe just plain nuts.
The production looks great as well. Simple staging with a bare floor and bars. But Charlie uses a chalk pen to mark out (like a fox) the seven stages of Charlie's state of mind.
Lighting designers Rob Mills and Robbie Butler keep things on edge with their shifting colours and movement.
The music, lighting and performance come together as a breathtaking spectacle of fear and craziness in the city.
Watching the piece as Charlie becomes obsessed about a fox who is talking to him reminded me of a neighbour. This neighbour developed a strange evening routine of heading out to the square and feeding the local foxes slices of cooked sirloin. Which he bought from Marks and Spencer. Maybe there is something about city life that does something to people. Particularly if you're a bit of an insomniac.
Written by Titas Halder and directed by Hannah Price, Run The Beast Down is at the Finborough Theatre until 25 February.
Photo credit: production photos.