Bunny – Tristan Bates Theatre, London

Writer: Jack Thorne

Director: Lucy Curtis

Reviewer: Karl O’Doherty

There’s a big play made of the difference between surprise and suspense in this piece. The two run interwoven through the course of the narrative, highlighted and punctuated by movement, light and sound. Equally strong is the threatening air of tension being built with each layer of the story unveiled. It all makes for a gripping 70 or so minutes. If the audience leaves exhausted, poor Catherine Lamb as Katie (the eponymous Bunny) must be absolutely wrecked.

Jack Thorne, writer of Skins and Harry Potter and the Cursed Child amongst other cracking programmes and plays, gave Bunny to the world in 2010. Its a performance by a single woman (Catherine Lamb in this production, taking up the mantle again after her performance in the role at the White Bear Theatre in March last year) and tells us of a potentially life-changing afternoon after school when her boyfriend, Abe, gets in a fight and she’s dragged along in an impromptu vigilante justice squad led by a bitter work colleague of the Abe’s. Some cutting commentary from Katie slices into the difficult topics of ethnic, racial and class divisions and wraps it all up in a messy bundle of teenage confusion and anxiety.

Ranging from a bouncy, thrilled 18 year old on a walk with her beau (where she talks too much and he too little) to a humiliated and abused young women in a car with a stranger, Catherine Lamb takes Katie to some uncomfortable spots, and pulls the audience along too – shielding us from nothing. Flashing into memories (with the help of super production ideas from the design, movement and sound chiefs of Lucy Weller, Angela Gasparetto and Lex Kosanke respectively) and showing a complex character that’s relatable to just about anyone – the short piece packs a lot in to create a streamlined and charismatic production.

Teenagers are difficult for a grown world to understand at the best of times. Fabricate Theatre have made it a mission to address youth through performance and have chosen wisely here. Taking on the challenge of portraying a young woman accurately without turning it into an impression from a grown-up of a youth is difficult enough (and rare enough sometimes in London theatre) but they’ve succeeded with panache here, tackling race, social issues and, fear along the way.

Runs until 27 January 2018 | Image: Michael Lindall



Review Overview

The Reviews Hub Score

Charismatic and complex

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The Reviews Hub London is under the acting editorship of Richard Maguire. The Reviews Hub was set up in 2007. Our mission is to provide the most in-depth, nationwide arts coverage online.

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