Animal Farm

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The Independent Culture
Assembly Rooms (Venue 3), 54 George St (0131-226 2428), 11.30am; to 2 Sept (not 21 Aug)

It's a painful fact of late capitalism that some actors are more equal than others. But few are quite as equal as Guy Masterson, who follows up the mimetic acrobatics of last year's Under Milk Wood with a warm and compelling one-man version of George Orwell's Animal Farm.

With only the help of a grubby boiler suit and a few immaculately timed sound-effects, Masterson effortlessly leaps from beast to brute to creature, breathing snorting tyrannical life into Napoleon, the Stalinist pig who takes control of the farm, giving us a dense but lovable proletarian workhorse Boxer, an oily, propaganda-spewing Squealer and some feisty broods of chickens. The emotional texture of the book is sensitively re-created and the charm and allure of Masterson's performance makes the allegory more disturbing. The parallels drawn with Tory Britain come across as forced and a tad lazy, but this does not mar an enjoyable show.