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Rabbit (tour)

By • West End
WOS Rating:
Frantic Assembly's latest offering Rabbit is a must-see for those not easily offended.

The critically acclaimed, mould-breaking company has seized Australian Brendan Cowell's blackly comic script and wrung from it every iota of emotion in an explosion of sound and vision.

Written as Cowell discovered his father had cancer, Rabbit explores the boundaries of a dysfunctional family and pokes insistently at the darker corners of relationships.

Directors Scott Graham and Steven Hoggett have added their trademark frenetic choreography to present a confrontational modern ballet of words and constant movement.

The multi-talented cast are on the move even before the off as the supple Helen Heaslip writhes and stretches as the drugged-up Madeleine Cave awaiting the arrival of the family at one of their luxury weekend homes.

It's time to meet the parents for stoned and bereaved boyfriend rap MC and chef Spin (Sam Crane) who desperately needs a fix before the face to face with Maddy's opinionated famous shock jock father (David Sibley) and his selfish trophy wife (Susan Kyd).

Maddy has devised a bombshell to drop, father finds himself facing his personal devils as his egotistical view fails him, and mother has a live rabbit to cook. And poor Driver (Karl Sullivan) has a crisis on his hands and no one to tell him how to do the right thing.

The family soul is laid bare and relationships with others exposed in the continual dance highlighted by Frantic Assembly's signature dynamic style.

Heaslip is revved up and adolescent; Crane gawky and earnest; Sibley patronising and egotistical; Kyd seductive, slinky and self-centred, and Sullivan downtrodden and hopeful - all superbly cast and beyond criticism.

Acclaimed designer Dick Bird has devised a superbly simple set which is used to incredible effect while Deadly Avenger provide the music - insidious and blaring by turns.

Undoubtedly there are many more layers to the story than those collected on first hearing but the programme is a script which I for one want to read again to glean every last drop from the experience.

Even without the learned insight, at face value Rabbit is a brilliant and compelling show but expect swearing, sexual references, drug-taking and nudity.

This stunning piece of physical theatre is mesmerising deservedly packed houses with its unique blend of thought provoking and comic script, balletic cadences and thrilling choreography - don't miss it.

- Karen Bussell (reviewed at Plymouth Theatre Royal)


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