Writer : Jack Thorne
Director: Paul Brotherston
Reviewer: Torran McEwan
It’s just the usual walk home from school for Katie. Her school bag in one arm, clarinet in the other, yet she still manages to hold hands with Abe, her disinterested older boyfriend. But this bunny is about to go down the rabbit hole.
Tron Theatre Company’s production of Bunny comes at an opportune time. Through following the journey of Katie, a white middle class sixth former, in the aftermath of her black boyfriend’s ice cream being knocked over by an Asian kid, Jack Thorne explores a multitude of issues surrounding racial tensions, class relations, sexuality, and consent. In 2018, eight years after Bunny premiered, the play seems to interact painfully easily with the current political climate. The scene where Katie gives Asif her underwear could be a response to the #MeToo movement and the Women’s March for example. Her consent here is dubious. Katie’s matter of fact voice gives the sense that the audience are witnesses, and it is up to us to judge the morality of what is happening for ourselves.
The story is told by Katie through a stream-of-consciousness style monologue that veers suddenly from her thoughts on watching fat people eat, to cornering the culprit of the ice cream knock in a cul de sac, to a meditation on how Luton apparently houses half of all England’s firearms. Anna Russell-Martin gives a brilliantly natural performance as Katie, although occasionally words were lost in her teenage gruffness.
The set is simply a rectangle of white flooring. A pair of headphones, an iPod, and a pack of gummy bears are littered about. The sound and lighting design are very subtle; an echo emphasises occasional phrases, and sounds of dread appear at points, while an unforgiving strong white light illuminates the stage. Altogether, this creates the sense that the audience has just been dropped inside Katie’s head, bringing us closer to a character who it might otherwise be difficult to emphasise with at points.
First impressions of Katie are that she knows what she’s doing and can’t wait to grow up. By the end, we’re left with a lonely girl unable to connect to anyone properly and struggling to fit into a world she doesn’t understand. While deeply political, it would be a shame not to recognise the essence of this play; a coming-of-age play for every woman who’s ever wobbled on the precipice of adulthood.
Runs until 7 April 2018 | Image: Contributed