"The Bounds" Tackles Brutality and Social Disparity in Tudor Football

June 23, 2024

Stewart Pringle's "The Bounds" weaves a darkly comedic folk horror tale set in the 16th century, a time when English football matches were not just sporting events but with social and political motives and may sometimes end in violence. Written by Stewart Pringle and directed by Jack McNamara, captivates the unsettling experiences that come with power, persecution, and precariousness. 

The impressive aspect of the production is its cast, who delivered exceptional portrayals of their characters.Ryan Nolan and Lauren Waine's portrayals of Percy and Rowan are filled with warmth, humor, and camaraderie, offering comic relief to the looming apocalypse brought by Soroosh Lavasani's character, Samuel. The undeniable chemistry between the actors elevates their performances, giving their characters depth, empathy, and complexity.

Photo by Von Fox Promotions

The stage's small size did not hinder McNamara from effectively delivering the narrative's message. Verity Quinn's set design, while simple, created an atmospheric effect through its sound and lighting,  transporting the audience to the eerie setting. The overall experience evoked a sense of unease and dread.

Photo by Von Fox Promotions

However, "The Bounds" loses some momentum as the plot thickens, becoming increasingly complex as it moves toward a conclusion of unresolved feelings. This leaves the audience wondering what could have been and prompts reflection on power structures and the human condition. The story lacked exploration of its other conflicts, leaving the audience with a sense of unfulfilled potential.

Photo by Von Fox Promotions

"The Bounds" stands out as a play of ambition and creativity, brought to life by a talented ensemble of actors. It delves deep into the sad realization that those without power are often trapped by their circumstances, unable to influence their lives, and thus, remain marginalized. Through the characters of Percy and Rowan and the depiction of their communities, the play shines a light on the extensive damage caused by political indifference and societal neglect. It pointedly criticizes the apathy of the privileged classes toward the hardships faced by the less fortunate, making a compelling statement on the state of societal and political dynamics. 

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