The Bike Shed Theatre’s latest touring production comes to Bristol, fresh from Salisbury and London’s New Diorama.
The land is far from fruitful for farmer Stamper (Richard Pulman) and his children Evie (Annette Chown]) and Max (Jolyon Westhorpe). The living is tough and idyllic nostalgia tugs at Stamper’s soul. When he’s inspired to instigate a radical “solution” - eradicating all non-native species - his kids diverge wildy. Eva wants to save the bunnies (Stamper’s first target) while Max becomes increasingly motivated to see the solution to its final, chilling conclusion.
David Lockwood’s direction, with Stuart Crewes’ design, conjours up an uncanny concoction of the fondly ridiculous and discomfitingly grotesque, as the farm-kitchen, cosy familiarity marches with glee into an inverted Animal Farm-cum-Sweeny Todd.
Kieran Lynn’s script is clever, but could afford to be more confident in its clout; there are a few too many moments where more subtlety would have been chillingly powerful. Similarly, the cast can afford to have more trust in their own impact.
This is a thought-provoking show, with wit, humanity and a very enjoyable slither to discomfort.