AU ABROAD

Theatre Review: Rabbithead - The Blue Room Theatre, Perth (Performances through June 14th)

RabbitHead is the latest production from Little y Theatre Co and Whatshesaid. Directed by Ian Sinclair RabbitHead is a darkly absurd Australian comedy and performative response to Barbara Baynton’s gothic novel The Chosen Vessel. It’s a strange work – full of oddities and quirks, and even now, a day or so later, I’m still not convinced I’ve fully got a handle on what it was all about.

It is a wonderfully stylised work; with a fluffy set and costumes full of colour. making the production slightly reminiscent of one those surely drug induced children’s TV programs, an idea which for me was reinforced by Humphrey Bower’s narration. Indeed, it is initially all a bit dream-like, with a bounding pink rabbit emerging from the fluff coating the stage, though soon takes a turn down the Watership Down road with the rabbits abrupt demise. Which sets the mood for the rest of the production, a dark and sour undercurrent below a fluffy superficial sweetness.

Many of the production’s strongest moments come courtesy of performers and devisers Holly Garvey and Violette Ayad their unravelling and twisting relationship in some ways providing an element of structure and cohesion to an otherwise elaborate and absurdist plot. Both Garvey and Ayas give energetic and effusive performances, playing well off each other, bringing an added touch of believability to apparent friendship of their two characters.

RabbitHead is an odd and quirkily stylish production. Whilst it is true that the production is a still a bit of work in progress, even at this stage, the cast and crew have fashioned a creative and entertaining work, one which will provide a strong base for further refinements and developments. I suspect this will not be the last we see of Rabbithead and Bottle-O Rob.

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RabbitHead continues in performances until 14th June 2014. For more details head to: http://blueroom.org.au/events/rabbithead/. Simon Clark reviewed the performance on 1st June 2014.