Written 80 years ago as a savage satire on post revolutionary Russia and the rise of Joseph Stalin, Animal Farm remains a seminal work of literature.

The story of the animals overthrowing their human farmer to take over the farm only to abandon all their ideals as the oppressed become the oppressors remains all too relevant in today’s society.

Bury Times: Sam Black, Polly Lister and Samater Ahmed in Animal Farm at the Octagon (Pamela Raith)

This new version, directed by Iqbal Khan is a fresh, modern and at times chilling reworking of the story and demonstrates what theatre is capable of.

Manor Farm in the Octagon version is overseen by CCTV cameras where the animals are mere incidentals.

Old Major, one of the farm’s pigs, dreams of a time when the humans are overthrown and the animals run the farm in a complete state of egalitarianism - thus the spirit of revolution is born.

It’s likely that many people will have read the book - perhaps only at school where it remains a set text; or perhaps seen a film version. This stage adaptation offers something new, something visceral, something powerful and moving.

It’s also surprising funny in parts which makes the rise of the ‘elites’ - in this case the pigs on the farm - all the more shocking.

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There will always be doubters who say ‘how can a bunch of animals be convincing?’ Well you haven’t seen these animals.

A six-strong cast turn in one of the most physically impressive works of theatre I’ve seen for a long time. Elaborate, skeletal head dresses instantly identify the pigs, sheep, horses and even a raven. But it is the movement, the attention to detail, the sounds the emanate from them as the action unfurls. It’s uncanny but the odd bleat, whinney and moo provides an unnerving soundtrack.

Polly Lister, recently seen at the Octagon having a jolly old time as Lady Phileas Fogg in Around the World in 80 Days. shows once again what an accomplished performer she is as both Old Major and Clover a hardworking horse who begins the doubt that the brave new world is all it’s cracked up to be.

Bury Times: Ida Regan as Napoleon in Animal Farm at the Octagon (Picture: Pamela Raith)

Sam Black, an imposing presence as Boxer the cart horse, is naivety personified blindingly trusting the increasingly outrageous proclamations from the farm’s self-styled leader Napoleon. His final scene is genuinely heartbreaking.

Ida Regan’s sinister Napoleon is disturbing. Having tasted power she just craves more abandoning all principles along the way. As her ravings become more extreme and the six tenets which underpinned the revolution are eroded - brilliant bit of staging involving corrugated iron and luminous markers by the way - it’s impossible not to conjure up images of one of two modern political figures.

Bury Times: Killian Macardle as Squealer in Animal Farm at the Octagon (Picture: Pamela Raith)

It’s the same too of Killian Macardle’s Squealer, her number two. As he spouts endless statistics in a bid to prove that the brave new world is better even when obviously it’s not you are reminded of so many press conferences and speeches recently.

Samater Ahmed as Snowball and Amy Drake as Mollie - plus numerous other characters - again are simply first rate. There isn’t a weakness in this production which means that the tension mounts until the devastating conclusion.

Animal Farm was in Orwell’s view a dark fairy tale. The satire is biting and savage, the humour black yet occasionally just silly. It is this juxtaposition between the dark and the light; the hope and optimism being fiercely crushed by extremism that makes the production so frighteningly relevant.

Is it a warning? Will anyone take notice? Is it too late?

Scarily prescient and so of today, Animal Farm has got that ‘must watch’ quality to it.

Until Saturday, February 24. Details from www.octagontheatre.co.uk.