What All The Rabbits Are Doing - Review

The play's shock element start had all the promise of a political thriller as the establishment ruthlessly covers up the consequences of a prison rehabilitation experiment gone wrong.

However what followed was a philosophical debate about the nature of evil and the possibility of redemption.

Raymond, a violent psychopath, is assigned life-drawing classes under the scrutiny of watching scientists. His life model is Marianna, an optimistic charity worker who forms an extraordinary bond with the prisoner.

Their scenes together depicted a slowly developing friendship as Raymond questioned her motive for being there and Marianna trying to get him to express his feelings.

These scenes were interspersed with bizarre exchanges between the snipers who are on stand by, ready to intervene if the girl is in danger.

The snipers were dressed in black and wearing lights on the head that spot lit only their faces. This gave a comic aspect to them and at times suggested masks that led me to believe that their purpose was to maybe fulfil a role similar to the Chorus in a Greek tragedy. However, surreal elements were added by one of them moving in a balletic way and carrying a black fan rather than rifle and the shifting sexual tension between the three of them. The games that that played smacked more of a school playground rather than a surveillance team. This aspect of the play was its weakest and detracted rather than added any value to the piece. It was a pretentious mish-mash.

There were strong performances from Rhys Lawton as Raymond and Zoe Hinks, Marianna. Hinks had a remarkably expressive face that she used well – at times enigmatic, mocking and even flirtatious. Considering that she spent the whole play totally naked it was incredible that one was to drawn to the face rather than to the body.

In addition to staring in the play Hinks also wrote and co-directed it and with her co-director also playing one of the roles it was the usual case of a production suffering from not having a detached and dispassionate view of the play's weaknesses.

By a strange co-incidence this was the second play in a week where the staging was such that the audience were made to feel as though they were also in prison. The previous play at the Barn, Southwick, contained a powerful performance from Andy Bell, a NV stalwart.

Barrie Jerram
26 October 2008