EFR - Reviews of Little Foot

Little Foot

Mon 5th – Sat 10th August 2013

reviews

Megan Stodel

at 09:03 on 7th Aug 2013

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You know those straight-to-DVD horror films with implausible plots that are little more than an excuse for gratuitous violence? Imagine two of those, with completely different storylines, combined and channelled into a single theatrical production. You might be thinking of something like ‘Little Foot’.

Three old friends meet up in some caves with two other people tagging along. They are attempting a reunion (though details and background are largely unexplained) but there seems to be tension. Then everything escalates very quickly. The violence of the production took me by surprise. I didn’t understand why it was happening. Reasons were given; they just weren’t convincing. Most of the rest of the play showcased various brutal interactions with unclear motivations, and without believable responses from the victims.

Interwoven with this storyline is a chorus of “pre-humans” who populate the caves, including the eponymous Little Foot, whose main role is to scream intermittently. This is presumably to add another layer of horror but it really makes very little sense. Essentially, the plot is abysmal. I have no idea why Amersham School chose to take on this script but it does them no favours.

As far as the acting goes, it is not particularly good but it could be worse. Chloe Gurney gave a decent performance and Eden Moafy has potential if he learns how to resist the temptation of overdoing it. However, it was frustrating that none of the actors playing South African characters attempted an accent. I imagine this was because they are unable to do one convincingly, but this is just another reason why the choice of play was so strange.

I found the chorus disconcerting but in general they did an adequate job of working together as an ensemble, managing to chant together and coordinate their actions for the most part. Sometimes it was difficult to understand what they were saying, particularly when they were shouting in unison. It might have been better to have more lines spoken individually, which would not have detracted from their portrayal as a group if done right.

‘Little Foot’ is a bizarre story. I do not know why this group chose to tell it.

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Florence Strickland

at 10:01 on 7th Aug 2013

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Amersham School’s production of Craig Higginson’s ‘Little Foot’ was certainly a peculiar choice of drama. A group of young people spend a night in the South African caves, surrounded by pre-human inhabitants. The action quickly disintegrates into what seemed like gratuitous violence and cruelty. I couldn’t see any rational development and no conclusion, retribution or otherwise, for this behaviour. It felt a great shame that such an evidently passionate company poured their efforts into a play that seemed to have no direction.

The audience entered the theatre to be greeted by an alarming row of ‘pre-humans’ in muddy balaclavas, accompanied by tribal music. This ensemble performed at various interludes with repetitive shrieking, and apparent tribal movements. These performances weren’t particularly diverse, and could often have been charged with less volume. I know primitive tribes are not supposed to be subtle, but this might have been useful at some point. As a testament to the performers, they fully engaged with the task they were given and worked well as a group.

In terms of the main cast, the script didn’t do them any favours. However, they dealt with the subject matter as well as they could. There were some strong performances, especially from Chloe Gurney as Rebecca. However I don’t think that I was the only one who found the repetitive kissing, between Rebecca and Campbell Hartley as Wizard, uncomfortable to watch.

The kissing seemed almost gratuitious, which the violence - that seemed to come out of a state of psychosis rather than reason - certainly was. The actions of characters, Braai and Moby, towards Wizard were brutal and sadistic. There were moments of tying him up, as well as beating him until presumed dead. I would not say this was an accurate depiction of the intricacies of the ‘psyche of the adolescent mind’ as described in the play’s press release.

The outcome of the tension was predictable, however, the utter destruction with no clear conclusion was not. I appreciate that this was a school production. However, the potential talents of the cast could have been used in a better way.

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