Farragut North is the first show of Live Five’s 2012-2013 season. The play, which was adapted to the screen last year in George Clooney’s The Ides of March, is an engaging, riveting narrative, focusing on the back room dealings of political campaigns.
Written in 2008 by Beau Willimon, Farragut North was inspired by Willimon’s own experience working for the 2004 campaign of then Vermont governor, Howard Dean.
The play focuses largely on Stephen Bellamy (Jaron Francis), a young, brash, idealist who has been involved in the political arena since the age of fifteen. Francis is fantastic as the mercurial Stephen who, at all times, is charming, contentious and relatable. Watching the character transform and squirm as his life begins to unravel was mesmerizing. It was akin to watching a documentary about a creature being forced to adapt to a new habitat.
The supporting cast featuring Heather Morrison, Paige Goodman, Matt Josdal, Mark Claxton, Anthony MacMahon and Greg Ochitwa were equally superb.
Morrison plays Ida, a New York Times reporter whose desperation for a scoop pushes her morality almost as far as the more corrupt politicians in the play. Morrison emotes a fiery intensity that makes her small but supporting part memorable.
Goodman brings a sultry, compassionate and also carefree attitude as the 19-year-old intern Molly.
Josdal, in his few short scenes, brings a seductive, no bullshit cadence as Tom, who runs one of the competing campaigns.
Claxton is great as the slimy, senior campaign manager who demands loyalty. His character, Paul, is charming and warm but hides a seedy underbelly.
MacMahon projects an eager, bright eyed enthusiasm as Ben, whose young attitude and ruthlessness provides a foil for Stephen.
Ochitwa, while having very little lines in his role as a waiter, is an important character as he is the only one outside of the political arena and probably the most moral character of the ensemble.
Charlie Peters, who directed the play, captures the intensity of the script by going with a minimalistic approach, allowing the tension between the characters to drive the play.
Simply put, whether you like politics or not, this a fantastic piece of theatre. The script is razor sharp, the performances are electric and engaging, and the direction is sound. Farragut North opened Oct. 19. Its final weekend of shows runs from Oct. 25-28 at the Refinery.
Tickets can be purchased online at livefive.ca or at the box office by calling 653-5191.