Directed by Rupert Goold, ‘The Hunt’ is adapted by David Farr from critically acclaimed film Jagten, a Danish thriller.
Tobias Menzies plays school teacher Lucas, a stoic, reserved man who although part of the community keeps himself to himself, in his house in the woods with his dog, Max. Faced with an accusation from introverted pupil Clara (Abbiegail Mills), he is ostracised, interrogated and ultimately becomes a part of the ‘hunt’ himself.
The stage design by Es Devlin is incredibly effective, with a glass hut which rotates and serves as a base for the different settings in the village, forming the centre of the drama. Through the transparent walls, we are allowed a glimpse into the action, before the scenes start- providing striking imagery which keeps the pace of the piece fluid.
The ensemble of men, who make up the hunting lodge appear in the hut frequently, with their drinking songs and camaraderie- which add tension, as we see Lucas once a part of that group- to then being on the outside not allowed in. Thematically, this piece feels extremely cohesive, with a reoccurring image of a deer which appears throughout, maintaining the hunting theme and a constant reminder that the pressure is on Lucas, as the hunter becomes the hunted.
Parents of Clara, Mikala (Popper Miller) and Theo (Justin Stallanger) are an incredibly strong double act, who make their first appearance as bolshy bickering parents both late picking up their daughter, both with their own agendas and excuses- to being crushed with guilt, and not only doubting their own parenting skills but their childhood friend, and their child at the same time.
This is a story of a man, wrongly accused- and in this instance, it is the child who makes the false claim. It’s a dark and chilling story, where the relationships of all the community are tried and tested.