Printable CopyRABBITS
The State Theatre Company of South Australia
Plant 1
Until 14 Oct 2017

Review by Janice Bailey

Welsh-born Emily Steel’s one-woman show “Rabbits” is this year’s State Theatre Company supported independent show. “Rabbits” has been in development since 2012, in association with Adelaide Festival Centre’s inSPACE program. The story is semi-autobiographical, relating the experiences of a British woman immigrating to Australia. Hence the idea of rabbits – an introduced species which bred so rapidly they had to be controlled and culled.

On arrival at Plant 1 the audience is treated to a tea tasting in the foyer, provided by Brewed by Belinda. We are then led ‘down the rabbit-hole’ by director, Daisy Brown. Plant 1, Bowden is an interesting space. Having seen several works performed there with quite elaborate and transforming sets, it was almost confronting to find it devoid of anything except a few, well-used couches, which was where the audience was seated. As the story unfolds it becomes clear that the vast, open space is intentional. As director Brown explains, the space conveys the loneliness of Steel’s character. However, the audience has been invited into a ‘home’ – hence the huddle of couches for the limited 50 ‘guests’.

Emily Steel’s performance is energetic and engaging and we are challenged to confront and question our biases, most of which we form through what we see, hear and read – and accept. The roles of Dee Easton as Goldie and Sam Calleja as Snowy – the visualisation of the concept of the rabbits – are integral to the unfolding of the story and they play their role with controlled energy. The original score, written and performed by Mario Spate creates mood and underscores action, without being obtrusive.

Overall, this is a fascinating and unique theatrical experience.