Writer & Director: Chelsea Gillard & Jac Ifan Moore
Production company: PowderHouse
Reviewer: Beth Steer
Set around an ‘impassioned young man’ who leaves his home in rural Wales in the middle of the night to head to Spain and fight for his beliefs, Shooting Rabbits blends a mix of Welsh, English, Spanish and Basque to illustrate the narrative.
In the face of fascism, the protagonist (Neal McWilliams) pledges to stand up for democracy, facing a ‘radical choice between idealism and action’. The play is set between 1936 and 1939, when around 300 people from Wales enlisted into the International Brigades to fight the rise of fascism in Spain, and aims to use the story of one man’s fight to explore the relationship between Wales and Europe, in a time of crisis.
The three performers themselves are expressive and energetic; their enthusiasm and passion shining through – every line is delivered explosively, and the diversity of languages keeps the pace rapid.
The lighting and set add to the atmosphere cleverly, and the creative direction is interesting. It’s fairly simple, yet manages to change the mood quickly and effectively – traversing time periods and settings in seconds.
Shooting Rabbits has the potential to be a poignant piece, but the execution somewhat lets it down. The context isn’t altogether clear, and, without prior historical knowledge and an awareness of the intricacies and political context of that time period, the audience could struggle to follow the plot. There’s a play within a play element to the piece that, unfortunately, adds to the confusion.
An interesting concept with an important narrative that, with some more work, could be really impactful.
Reviewed on 2nd May 2019 | Image: Contributed