Review: Harvest

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Lawrence Batley Theatre, Huddersfield

Dark Horse is not a theatre company which likes to play safe. Known previously as Full Body and the Voice they decided on a name change to reflect a new chapter in the Huddersfield company’s history.

Its ensemble of learning disabled actors pushed new boundaries when they appeared in Shameless last year and it’s more of the same with their latest show.

Set in a post-apocalyptic world, it borrows a little from Mad Max as survivors struggle to exist in a world where all normal rules have been removed. For artistic director Vanessa Brooks, music and movement are much more important than speech, and it has a powerful effect.

Staged in the round, with only the basic set, this stripped-back production adds to the sense of a lost world where superstition and mistrust reign.

It’s not without problems, the sound system in particular let the cast down with the robotic-voiced narrator, so crucial to pushing the action forward, often reduced to a muffle. However, as an exploration about what happens when society breaks down, Harvest, has much to say about our basic instincts and there are some genuinely moving performances from a company definitely going places.