|Bunnies (for short) – Written by Kieran Lynn, Directed by David Lockwood – Tobacco Factory, Brewery Theatre, Bristol Thursday 15th November 2012 Rating ****
Arriving for my first visit to the Bristol Tobacco Factory’s studio venue, I was slightly surprised at the lack of people waiting to enter a Brewery. Then just before show-time a commendable turnout seemed to appear from nowhere and Bunnies sprang to life. The production itself was put together by the Bike Shed Theatre Company in Exeter and although this was said to be part of an inaugural tour it had already been an award winner in 2011. Given the rather scant program notes that was about all I could ascertain, so it was going to be down to the cast to explain all. That they certainly did.
A large trunk was haphazardly emptied by jovial dancing country folk with even that familiar smell of open fields. Conveniently concealed within the box was a speaker, cleverly playing the role of a fourth character who narrated between the scenes. Richard Pulman convincingly portrays the highly assertive Stamper who awkwardly adopts a plan to vastly improve the family lifestyle and ultimately humanity as a whole. At first he seems to gain little assistance from his rather preoccupied son Max (played by Jolyon Westhorpe), and the less than cooperative Annette Chown as Stamper’s daughter Eva. Then slowly but surely the thumbscrew turns and even the relatively macabre appearance of stuffed animals and a blood spattered apron seem absorbed against the comedy backdrop.
Absurdity and hilarity march hand in hand as opera and even a burst of Art Garfunkel kept the title theme rolling through the hills. I suppose as the blood cocktail crescendo turned black comedy into a highly original red, I should have predicted what was just around the corner. I didn’t, and I doubt you will either… This countrified Orwellian tale certainly takes you somewhere and even brings you back. You just may not actually realise you’ve been and even Derren Brown could not have packed away the trunk so neatly at the end. David Lockwood deserves full marks for his direction with brilliantly designed lighting completing the illusion. Kieran Lynn may well have watched a Stanley Kubrick film or two but has crafted something special for the stage. The result is called Bunnies.
© Sue Callaghan Murray 2012
Last edited on Wed Nov 21st, 2012 11:46 pm by Sue Callaghan Murray