Saturday, 19 November 2016

Far from the Madding Crowd, Square Chapel Centre for the Arts - Friday 18th October 2016

(Accessed from

The Players of Hotbuckle Productions, a Shropshire based theatre company, presents Far from the Madding Crowd.  Adapted by Adrian Preater, the four member cast performs Thomas Hardy's classic intimately on stage.  The cast - Preater, Virginia Lee, Lauren Orrock and Matthew Rothwell play the multiple characters and tripling up as narrators and live musicians.

Written in 1874, the classic is set in rural South West England and explores the relationship between Bathsheba Everdene (Lee) and her suitors, Gabriel Oak (Rothwell), Mr Boldwood (Preater) and Sergeant Troy (Rothwell).  The themes, the characters face, are love, disappointment, honour, betrayal, tragedy and crucially the roles women plays in society, amid the tough reality of life in a farming community.  

The performance ran smoothly with seamless transitions between scenes with change of characters, costumes and props and this aided with excellent light and soundscapes.  An enjoyable performance, which offers an insight to the life the author lived and the diverse and complex circumstances human beings experience.  Far from the Madding Crowd so far has been touring primarily in Northern Ireland and England.

Dawn Smallwood 
Reviewed on 18th November 2016