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Inspiringly bad

Rabbit [theatre]

5.5/10

[EDIT: This post included a good few images from the play. The kids at Rabbit must’ve been a bit hurt by this review and as such have demanded that the images be taken down, citing the ‘healthy and safety risks’ of photography in the venue. Fortunately this is the limit of their rights to censor me.]

What are these pictures of?

[CENSORED]

Yes, it does look like yet another bunch of urban Shazzas and Dazzas having a chat at Laruche, but this is in fact the set of ‘Rabbit’, a new play at Metro Arts. In summary, it is a lot like listening in on a bunch of Shazzas and Dazzas having a chat at Laruche.

Whether or not you should see Rabbit will depend heavily on what you hope to get from it. If you’re after genuine entertainment or intellectual stimuation, this show is a desert. The themes are crashingly banal, and although the actors are pretty good they are hobbled by a limited script. In its best moments Rabbit delivers a handful of decent one-liners, but this handful of goodness pales in comparison to the vat of slop that is the rest of the dialogue, mostly composed of desperately unclever commentary on sexuality, gender relations and career angst. Rabbit is a slice of life, cut from one of humanity’s stalest cakes.

On the other hand, Rabbit is good value if you want a bit of inspiration. The characters are so irritating, their dilemmas so trite and their interests so selfish that you WILL passionately want to be unlike them. If you fear that you are becoming a fat, mediocre sow in life’s mud-wallow, Rabbit shows you what you’re probably like. You will be both afraid and motivated. It certainly gave me a little shudder when the ‘arrogant lawyer’ character announced that he was a writer…

The other thing you may get from Rabbit is a bit of perspective on grief. The play flicks (quite cleverly, using stage lighting) between two basic scenes: a noisy bar, and the lead character’s memories of her father.

[Censored: again by order of the charming staff at Rabbit]

This father is on his way out of life and she is battling that grief painfully – she doesn’t hold together very well at all, and even as you cringe at her (amazingly selfish) emotional flailing you may just recognise the way that the death of a beloved parent can mess a person up. Very poignantly, at one point she wails “Now who will tell me what to do?”. If they were aiming for a commentary on Gen Y, they might just have hit their mark.

At just $12 for two hours of entertainment, you won’t feel totally ripped off if you do give Rabbit a go. Metro Arts is a good spot and the adjacent Verve’s beer and cider selection is great, so if you’re prepared to smash a fair few pre-play beverages you might just have a good time in Rabbit. Otherwise, give this one a miss and consider the interesting-looking theatre options at La Boite or Judith Wright Centre.

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6 responses

  1. S.

    I thought this was a great gen Y show.. I reckon you should check out a lot more theatre if you thought this was bad. I’ve seen a lot of atrocious shows around Brisbane lately and I thought this one was refreshing.. It made you cringe at yourself, you thought it nailed gen Y and you thought it shed light on grief.. that isn’t an unsuccessful work of theatre. Also, I suggest you should maybe think about the amount of work and the human beings involved in putting a show like this on.. you can write your thoughts but you can write them in a way that is respectful and non hurtful. You have a group of artists here putting something on at the risk of their own finances and it would be a shame for someone to be put of forming their own opinion because they accidentally (via google) stumbled upon your uninformed diatribe. I think your blog is great but I would hope you would consider the power of your words.. and based on this I hope you never come and see one of my works.

    July 19, 2011 at 12:02 am

    • “Uninformed diatribe”? Zing. Perhaps you’d like to do a guest review for Philistine?

      Re your sentiments, if the intent was to make us disgusted at Gen Y, then yeah, it delivered the goods. The alarming thing is I don’t think this was the intention, and even if it was, it did it in a way that wasn’t entertaining. As a quantum Rabbit was pretty hard to watch and I left feeling irate. I have seen good theatre in Brisbane (stuff at Judith Wright and Zen Zen Zo) so perhaps we’re using a different benchmark? Even then, surely ‘a bit better than terrible’ still deserves 5/10. I do recognise the effort involved in putting on a play, and I gave the actors due credit – but the script sucked, and as a critic I feel it’s my job to pass on this insight.

      Btw, have you seen the other reviews? The C-M seems to quite like it and the guys at Frankie are keen.

      July 19, 2011 at 8:18 am

  2. Same as before..

    I don’t know that the intention wasn’t to make us disgusted at Gen Y.. not all theatre must be a celebration. It can be an ugly reflection about unredeeming people. I think most importantly we don’t have to like it for it to be good. I’m glad you were prepared to engage in discussion about it. I appreciate your reply.. but if you thought this script sucked I shan’t begin a conversation about how flawed the dramaturgy of Zen Zen Zo’s non-butoh shows has been in recent years not to mention their endless recycling of old material and even choreography BUT I digress. Thank you for seeing theatre and thank you for caring enough to write about it – whether you liked it or not. Thank you for contributing to the cultural discourse in this flourishing time for Brisbane theatre.

    July 19, 2011 at 10:40 am

    • Hmm, you’ve given me a bit to think about there. I grappled with the same issue in my review of Snowtown – ‘this is horrible but maybe that’s what they intended’. I guess when dealing with that situation, the quality of the delivery and dialogue matters a lot in keeping the audience interested.

      By the way, if you ever do one day find that I have reviewed something you do, please come back and comment! I’d be interested to see what a theatre person thinks of this style of review.

      July 19, 2011 at 9:24 pm

  3. Words aside, if your photos were lifted from official photos of the show without permission, or worse still, you took photos of the show while it was running, the producers have every right to demand you remove them. As for the actors, they wouldn’t give a fuck about some little blog review.

    July 28, 2011 at 3:27 pm

    • Oh hey there, are you one of the guys that keep googling this post? Thanks, my hits are through the roof, doubly so since the ol’ producers got the gag out.

      And man, those actors shouldn’t give a fuck – they probably have TAFE exams to study for and stuff.

      July 28, 2011 at 10:09 pm

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