Review: What Does the Fox Finder Say?

Furious Theatre Company visits England’s future

by CHRISTIAN ARAYA, Contributing Writer
Published: Wednesday, January 15, 2014 | 12:07 PM

Left to its own devices, this Orwellian pastoral play leaves you forgetting all about your sedentary existence. You are so close to the stage that you can smell the marsh, hear the rain pelts, and see clouds high above rural England’s rolling hills.

Sara Hennessy and Shawn Lee star in the Furious Theatre Company’s rolling World Premiere production of “Foxfinder.”

Taking place on a farm in a futuristic setting, the talented cast of characters is presented with individual challenges, as well as a government’s investigation as to why harvest has not met quota for the season. The investigation is led by a regimented agent—the “Fox Finder” (Joshua Weinstein), tasked with finding the root of the community’s problems at all cost, for country and glory.

Weinstein, to his credit, took the fox finder to a tenacious, methodical, and creepy place.

Dawn King’s storytelling really stirs a deep monologue about society and the place we have in it, as well as how we as individuals take responsibility for our actions. It’s so sharply crafted that it intertwines these themes seamlessly. (In fact, its success won King ‘Most Promising Playwright’ at the Off West End Awards in 2012.) The play’s social relevance has also led to its multiple productions in England, Sweden, and Australia.

Damaso Rodriguez’ direction was daring and visceral. His directing credits include work at Intiman, South Coast Repertory, Laguna Playhouse, A Noise Within, The Theatre @Boston Court, Oddyssey Theatre, and The Blank Theatre, and it’s all brought to bear at Furious.

The production’s sound effects, courtesy of Doug Newell, really create an eerie yet enchanting experience as they thread many of the transitions from scene to scene with electro sound bites that create their own feeling of auditory suspense.

Kristeen Willis Crosser’s set and lighting design works visually to help add to the strange feeling that you are on the set of one of Rod Serling’s Twilight Zone episodes. And you don’t want to leave.

We’ve have seen the future, and it’s Fox Finder.

The Furious Theatre Company is at the Pasadena Playhouse, 39 South El Molino Ave, Pasadena. (626) 356-7529.