Bunny, 2 Stars

Bunny by Jack Thorne
White Bear Theatre
Tuesday 7th – Saturday 25th March 2017

Cast Catherine Lamb
Director Lucy Curtis
Producers Catherine Lamb and Sophia Nicholson
Designer Lucy Weller
Lighting Designer Samuel Miller
Sound Designer Lex Kosanke

Review by Richard Lambert, 2 Stars

Perhaps I’m too old to enjoy a monologue that feels like someone’s telling me an in-depth recounting of an episode of “Skins.” I just couldn’t relate to this play. But that’s not to discount the stoic performance of Catherine Lamb who’s clearly a very talented performer.

The new White Bear, upstairs on the 1st floor, above the White Bear pub is new and “interesting.” When I say interesting I actually mean really challenging. With audience sat in 2 sections at 6 and 9 o’clock orientation, half of the audience look like they’re sat in the stage-right scene dock. This requires the cast to play it as if they’re on a tennis court peering one way then the other, or standing at the corner and looking left then right, in order to include all the audience.

There’s no “backstage” – a cast would need to come through the audience to get on stage. And it’s a small stage. Much smaller that the previous White Bear Theatre that was downstairs.

The lighting infrastructure is some unistrut channels screwed to the ceiling with cable trays in the wrong places. All of which necessitates control cables gaffer taped to the ceiling. Minimal lighting fixtures, a few spots, a few pars, and a few LEDs mean that all the light comes from a front direction. Nothing overhead, nothing behind, all very flat. If there were lights to create better dimension they’d be in the eyes of the audience. A challenge for the lighting designer Samuel Miller who makes the most of these limited resources.

The show is well Cued with Sound and Lighting Effects perfectly Sync’d and operated to match the play. A Design by Lucy Weller that’s tatty and appropriate for the piece set in Luton. I really liked the fluffy cotton wool flying clouds with built-in LED strings. Add a few standard lamps with trailing cables, post-it notes, balloons, books and 1 chair and you’ve got the Set. It works (on a budget).

The new venue has been touted as purpose-built and costing £1.3M
I’d have to question where the money was spent as it doesn’t appear to have gone on any useful technical facilities. Click here for background story.

Despite being written by the very famous Script Writer, Jack Thorne, (Skins, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child) I’m sorry to say I wasn’t able to emotionally invest in this hyper-active journey through adolescent Luton.

************************************************************************

I think life can be basically divided into two things: suspense and surprise. I prefer surprise to suspense. But that’s basically because I feel suspense all the time.

A summer of love. A fight. A car chase. A siege. When Katie’s boyfriend is attacked on the streets of Luton, she is propelled outside her borders to the frontier of council estates and concrete jungles. Amidst the sweltering heat, the baying for blood and longing for love, Katie is forced to decide her future.

A vital tale for our times by multi-award winning playwright Jack Thorne, Bunny is an interrogation into the mind of one young girl struggling to find her place within a modern world lacking intimacy and connection. This compelling and thought-provoking show explores a powerful youth voice in Britain.

Bunny is a play with a young white woman at its centre – one who loses her underwear in a car on the outskirts of an estate to a bloke she knows nothing about. She doesn’t understand that she needs to escape, that she’s been sucked in. Now, more than ever, theatre needs to explore stories where women are made to feel powerless, inadequate and too submissive. Now, more than ever, theatre needs to explore stories that help us to identify with the state of our nation.

Catherine Lamb, Lucy Curtis and Sophia Nicholson are a trio of up-and-coming female theatre makers seeking to present an unflinching, honest, intimate, vibrant and relatable story of our times. It is a compelling insight into what it is to be growing up today and the inevitable struggles, pressures and pitfalls of vulnerable young people.

Lucy Curtis comments: Bunny is about the state of our nation now – we are faced with youth unemployment, problematic political campaigns, factory closures and racial tensions in our communities. We are seeing the re-emergence of 20th century mentalities that, it turns out, were never completely left behind. They have stayed with us, and festered, and have now erupted across Britain, America and the rest of world. We see this through the eyes of Katie: a white, middle-class eighteen year old who wants to be anything but white, middle-class and eighteen. Bunny is about dialogue and about the understanding that can be reached between different people – through empathy”.

Performance Dates Tuesday 7th – Saturday 25th March 2017
Tuesday – Saturday 7pm
Sunday matinees 4pm

Running time 60 minutes

Twitter @FabricateTheatr, @WhiteBearTheatr, #Bunny

Show Trailer: Click here

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