“Story Telling At Its Best”
By Jill Lawrie, Remotegoat
The UK premiere of “White Fang”, written by Jethro Compton and inspired by Jack London’s novel “The Call of the Wild”, opens in Worthing for a couple of nights before transferring to London for a short run. Cornish writer, director and theatre producer Jethro Compton established his own production company 7 years ago and through his success at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival has had work successfully performed internationally.
This particular production began rehearsals in Saint Petersburg pre-hurricane Irma, but despite the ensuing devastation and carnage, was able to open in a pop-up space receiving rave reviews. Such determination and endurance from the company is truly remarkable.
Set in 1898 deep in the forests of the Yukon Territory north west Canada this is a tale of devotion, deprivation and redemption. A young child, the only survivor from a raid when her tribe were slaughtered, is rescued by one of the hunters and brought up by him as her ‘grandfather’. As a teenage girl he gives her an orphaned wolf cub to bring up and train and a close bond forms between these two, both of whom are torn from their centuries of tradition and forced to live in a world as outsiders. She learns to survive in this harsh landscape using the skills of her ancestors, but when her true identity is threatened can she survive this ultimate challenge?
The creative team have imaginatively inspired this period with authentic intimate settings, coupled with impressive costumes, skins, rugs and eerie sound effects. Jonny Sims original soundtrack and some haunting lyrics move the story forward with a spectacular wolf puppet uncannily bringing White Fang to life.
Jonathan Mathews (Tim Vincent) and Robert G Slade (Weedon Scott) generate the atmosphere with Paul Albertson (Beauty Smith) taking on the cynical darker aspects revealing sexism and racial discrimination. Mariska Ariya excels as the passionate and impetuous Lyzbet Scott giving a compelling and refreshingly natural performance as the huntress ~ a symbol of strength demanding vengeance and retribution for her sacred land. Bebe Sanders too excels as Curly Lyzbet’s tough strong-willed friend also living in this brutal terrain.
This is irresistibly watchable story telling at it’s best and a notable theatrical achievement.
White Fang previewed at Worthing Theatres Thu 7- Fri 8 December, before transferring to London, where you can see it until 13th January 2018.
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