Directed by second year Drama and English student, Alex Bell and produced by Drama student Lara Sprosen, Rabbit focuses on a group of five people in their late twenties, all celebrating their friend Bella’s birthday. Bella, a ‘control freak’ has kept each of her friends separate from one another, and as the play unfolds we see each character getting to know one another and their subsequent pasts. The play simultaneously switches to flashbacks, showing Bella and her father’s difficult and complicated relationship, with the first scene showing her father in hospital (authentically played by Edward Shock).
The play constructs comedic scenes through exploring topical debates that the audience can relate to, such as women being worse than men in regards to sharing intimate qualities of their partners, present and past, and through the individual characteristics and temperaments of each person. This most notable came from the character of Sandy, played flawlessly by Lucy Price. Her larger-than-life attitude and lack of a filter contributes to the central comedy of the performance. The animosity between the two ex-flames of Bella’s, Tom and Richard (played by Fionn Creber and Jason Timmington) also provides comedic release, with the juxtaposition of the alpha-male, Richard who tries hard for the attention of others, especially Emily, who was played by Catherine Roberts (perhaps to make Bella jealous) compared to Tom who hardly tries at all and seems to be the fixation point amongst the characters.
These comedic scenes are swiftly contradicted with the slightly morbid scenes between Bella and her father, as we see a glimpse into the extent of their difficult relationship. The sombre fragments of the performance peaked with the powerful and compelling portrayal of Bella, played by Darcy Dobson, as we saw the emotional breakdown of her character as she reveals to her friends the critical state of her father. After this, we are left with the dynamic image of Bella and her father on opposite ends of the stage, with Bella sobbing and watching her and her father share a rare moment of positivity and joy in their relationship. The defiant image was highlighted through the simplistic yet effective stage design by Lucy Robinson. Having five chairs around a table (the pub) and another separate chair for Bella’s father on stage right for her father’s flashback, brought a sense of simplicity to the performance along with child-like qualities, which fit in well with the dialogue of the performance as Bella said throughout the play that she wishes she could go back to when she was a child.
Although each character had stereotypical attributes, we got to see each one break down and become an individual, as we got to hear their fears in life and see them without their hard exteriors; individual human beings we can all relate to.
Overall, Rabbit perfectly combined social and political content, and was still able to keep the whole performance cheerful and hysterical, despite dealing with socially sensitive topics such as gender inequality, sex, death, relationships and infidelity. An exquisite original play with an equally talented cast and crew.