Frantic Assembly, Rabbit

Review in Issue 15-4 | Winter 2003

Occasionally, a company that makes physical/devised theatre steps over the divide to tackle a piece of new writing. Frantic Assembly’s ‘Rabbit’ is a dark ‘meet the family’ comedy by hip young Australian playwright Bren. dan Cowell. In what seems to be an enormous act of reverence to the text, the script is given to us as the programme for the performance. And grateful for it I was too. Without it, wouldn’t have known what an excellent play this is - and I certainly wouldn’t have got the ending, which Frantic frittered away with the poor cooked rabbit.

This, I realise, is a pretty damning statement to be fair, the play was enjoyed by a full house, with the audi ence average age far lower than at most theatre events. And there was a lot to like. I liked Sam Crane as the talented but wasted’ MC Spin and Karl Sullivan as The Driver (a classic absurdist character who acts as a catalyst to the trauma). The second act was a blend of taut dialogue, minimal but effective movement integrated into the play, and an excellent use of Dick Bird’s wonderful holiday home set, with indoor and outdoor scenes played on either side of the panoramic window, nifty lighting shifts creating the scene changes.

But the first act needs to get its act together-the tacked-on bursts of repeated movement motifs that interrupt the dialogue made me squirm in my seat. I can’t think of anyone other than Nigel Charnock who can do this well. Ultimately, the production just couldn’t manage to pull together the pre-existing text and the physical expression of that text on the stage.

Presenting Artists
Presenting Venue
Date Seen
  1. Oct 2003

This article in the magazine

Issue 15-4
p. 28