Jennifer Christie reviews Original Death Rabbit by Rose Heiney now playing at Jermyn Street Theatre.
Original Death Rabbit
Jermyn Street Theatre
11 January 2019
‘I took my functioning brain…and plugged it into this endless demonic mosaic of other people’s stupid bullshit words…’ (Original Death Rabbit: Rose Heiney)
This stage debut of Original Death Rabbit is the first production of the Jermyn Street Theatre’s Portrait Season. Written by award winning playright Rose Heiney, the play was first featured on BBC Radio 4.
They say that the state of one’s home reflects the state of one’s mind and the set for this show exhibits evidence of a very cluttered and confused mind. Designer Louie Whitemore has captured the essence of the piece visually as clearly as Heiney has done with an utter avalanche of beautiful and often profane language.
The premise of Original Death Rabbit is complex: as complex as ‘the issue of mental health.’ The sole protagonist is only ever called the Original Death Rabbit, as if her original identity was surrendered with the growing internet popularity of the bunny. The story is about mental health issues and the exacerbation of the mental state of those who troll the net. It’s certainly a current phenomenon that deserves exploration.
With barely a pause for breath over 90 minutes the Original Death Rabbit tells her listening web public the tale of how an intelligent and highly functioning young lady becomes, over a decade, a recluse who lives her life through electronic communication. It seems to be the over-excited ramblings of a suicidal schizophrenic mind and Kimberley Nixon delivers an authentic and skilled performance.
Together with director Hannah Joss, Nixon has prepared this monologue to lead the audience through a full gamut of emotions culminating in a twist at the ending that could well be tragic. There is a beautiful ebb and flow in the narrative.
Original Death Rabbit is incisive and very funny and reflects a societal dependence on social media that cautions against taking this popular distraction to extremes.
Until 9 February 2019