BritishTheatre

Published on

March 24, 2018

REVIEW: Rabbit, Mercury Theatre Colchester ✭✭✭✭

By

pauldavies

Paul T Davies reviews Rabbit, a play by Nina Raine presented by Protocol at the Mercury Theatre Colchester ahead of its season at Theatre N16.

Protocol Theatre Rabbit by Nina Raine Review

 

Rabbit

Mercury Theatre, Colchester

23 March 2018

4 Stars

Ahead of the National Theatre’s transfer of Nina Raine’s latest play, Consent, into the West End, Colchester based ProToCol Theatre revives her first play at the Mercury and Theatre N16. Bella is celebrating her 29th birthday, and has gathered friends and ex lovers, and as the night goes on and more bottles are drunk, arguments and truths are revealed. Bella’s Father is in hospital, dying of a brain tumour, and scenes with her father entwine with the drinking scenes. It’s a play of much verbal jousting, with brilliantly timed direction from Robbie Taylor Hunt and a top draw cast.

Protocol Theatre Rabbit by Nina Raine Review

The women fight with wit and the men feel objectified and scrutinised, and Yasmin Jafri’s excellent Bella holds the play together, dealing with the transitional tones of the play, (from drunken defensiveness to poignant memories of her father), very well. She had a complicated relationship with her father, mainly due to his unfaithfulness to her mother, but Tim Freeman brings a beautiful regret to Father, the brain tumour allowing him to see things with more clarity than the younger, squabbling generation. Charlotte Luxford is a luminous Emily, the voice of reason trainee surgeon, and she is matched by Richard Conrad’s perfectly observed Tom, the male balance to her sweetness and ambition. Chris Anderson is powerfully vocal as Richard, a barrister who introduces himself as a writer, opinionated yet vulnerable and Zoe Biles savours every punch line she is given as drunk, loud Sandy, almost stealing the show! The cast work beautifully together and their timing is perfect.

Protocol Theatre Rabbit by Nina Raine Review

Impressive as it is, Raine’s script still contains some first play problems. In places she is over eager to get her message across, the argument that begins act two sounds like a University dissertation, and undermines the beautiful observational atmosphere of the first half. The set and characters will be replicated in every bar in every high street tonight and every night, but not many people would argue like these five do. Some characters strike only one note, and needed much more depth, and, just as the night looks as if it’s going to implode the group massively, the big revelation is that Bella’s Dad is dying, which is only news to the other characters. And Father isn’t given enough to demonstrate his bullying, which is a shame as he is the symbol of a dying patriarchy.

In saying that, the scenes with Father are beautifully written and performed, and this is a brave choice of play from a company not afraid to tackle the risks head on.  They teem with relent, rolling with the script confidentially, and this is an excellent evening’s entertainment.

Rabbit opens the new Theatre N16 space 25th-29th March, tickets here: https://www.theatren16.co.uk/

 

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The British Theatre website has been established to celebrate the rich and diverse theatrical culture of the United Kingdom.  Our ethos revolves around encouraging and nurturing the performing arts in all its forms. The spirit of theatre is very much alive and the British Theatre website is at the forefront of delivering news and information to audiences and enthusiasts everywhere. Our team of theatre journalists and reviewers are working hard to cover productions and news.


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ABOUT BRITISHTHEATRE

BritishTheatre.com
Opening Night Media Ltd
3rd Floor, 80 St. Martin’s Lane
Covent Garden
London WC2N 4AA

The British Theatre website has been established to celebrate the rich and diverse theatrical culture of the United Kingdom.  Our ethos revolves around encouraging and nurturing the performing arts in all its forms. The spirit of theatre is very much alive and the British Theatre website is at the forefront of delivering news and information to audiences and enthusiasts everywhere. Our team of theatre journalists and reviewers are working hard to cover productions and news.


We are constantly developing the site and are always open to receiving feedback from our readers. Join our mailing list to be kept informed of all the latest news that is of interest to you..