BWW Reviews: Farm Boy Closes Triumphantly at the Matrix

‚Äč

BWW Reviews: Farm Boy Closes Triumphantly at the Matrix

Farm Boy/by Michael Morpurgo/adapted by Daniel Buckroyd/directed by David Fofi/Matrix Theatre/closed August 26

After the tremendous joy that War Horse provided its audiences, particularly because of its astounding puppetry, one might question if its sequel Farm Boy, a small scale production without the horse puppets, would be anywhere near as engaging onstage. Yes, yes, a hundred times yes. It's all in the storytelling. Like a good story can pull in a reader, good actors can engage an audience with a rich and rewarding story. Such is the case with Michael Morpurgo's Farm Boy  whose 60-minute visual representation of tradition proves richly theatrical.

Farm Boy picks up some 60 years later, when the son of Albert, who went off in WWI to find his horse Joey, is now a grandfather (Lawrence Pressman) living on the same family farm in Devon, England. This man has a grandson (Simon Lees) who comes to work on The Farm before going off to study engineering at University. During a visit, grandfather confides in his grandson that he cannot read and offers his grandson money to teach him to read and write. The results of the grandfather's success become even more laudatory when he writes down a story that he gives his grandson to take away with him. The story goes back to the time when Albert, now married with a son, puts Joey and another horse Zoey to yet another strenuous test. They must compete with a tractor to see who can plough the land with the greatest speed and efficiency. Can Joey save the day and win a bet that Albert has made? He has bet the rich owner of the tractor that if he, Albert loses, he must pay the man one hundred bales of hay, but if he wins, the man must surrender his tractor. It seems impossible to believe that a horse could beat a tractor, but it does indeed happen and grandpa's father Albert wins the prize tractor. What is most winning about the story is that it is grandfather's first - put to paper - and that it is read by the grandson who has developed such an incredible bond with him. After the boy graduates college, despite his degree in engineering, he returns to Devon and The Farm to take up where his ailing grandfather has left off, continuing the tradition, carrying on the family business of farming.

With David Fofi's beloved hand as guide, it is the overwhelming physical and emotional commitment of both actors that makes the story work so beautifully. Pressman is remarkable, making grandpa a true champion in every way. Lees' grandson is small but rugged, stubborn yet obedient to family values, which in itself is rare and commendable by today's standards. Aaron Glazer's set - big and open with painted sky and white horses on the back wall, and Gil Tordjiman's lighting add magic as does Katrina Wood's lovely music. Watch for a return of this genuinely heartwarming piece!

 

 

 

 

 

 

More Los Angeles!
Go to the Homepage


Comment & Share


About Author

Subscribe to Author Alerts
Don Grigware Don Grigware is an Ovation nominated actor and writer whose contributions to theatre through the years have included 6 years as theatre editor of NoHoLA, a contributor to LA Stage Magazine and currently on his own website:

www.grigwaretalkstheatre.com

Don hails from Holyoke, Massachusetts and holds two Masters Degrees from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst in Education and Bilingual Studies. He is a teacher of foreign language and ESL.

Don is in his fifth year with BWW, currently serving as Senior Editor of the Los Angeles Page. He received an Award for Excellence from BWW as one of the top ten Regional Editors across the globe for 2013.


 
🔀LOS ANGELES SHOWS
The Full Monty in Los AngelesThe Full Monty
(Runs 9/19 - 10/5)
Monty Python's Spamalot
(Runs 9/19 - 10/11)
Jesus Christ Superstar in Los AngelesJesus Christ Superstar
(Runs 9/19 - 10/19)
Do I Hear a Waltz? in Los AngelesDo I Hear a Waltz?
(Runs 10/1 - 10/19)
The Addams Family
(Runs 9/19 - 10/19)
State Fair in Los AngelesState Fair
(Runs 10/23 - 10/25)

View All | Add Show | Auditions

Message Board

BWW BLOGS