Tristan Bates Theatre, London – until 27 January 2018
Guest reviewer: Carole Lovstrom
A clever, ambitious, funny and scary piece of theatre, delivered with grit and integrity by a superb actor.
So I usually take the odd discreet note during performances of plays that I am reviewing but I struggled with this one. I was so caught up in the storytelling that I had to stop and listen and soak up the superb acting and razor-sharp writing.
This is a stunningly well-told story delving into the mind of a teenage girl (Katie, played brilliantly by Catherine Lamb) who experiences an evening of scary, challenging situations, which she seems to find fascinating, uncomfortable, but also exciting.
It reminds us how vulnerable a young person can be and also reminds us that things haven’t changed that much – teenage years have always been about taking risks and throwing common sense to the wind.
Katie reveals many of the disturbing choices she has made and, with a sense of pride, announces that she had saved her virginity to give to someone special, disregarding the other activities with a series of boys, that did not seem to give her much in return.
Katie is clearly a clever girl who expends a lot of effort “dumbing down” her language and ambitions in order to fit in. The character develops into a person you just want to hug and take away for a long chat about self-worth. The fact that Katie is resilient and appears not to be completely destroyed by events, alongside the flashbacks into her consciousness, left me feeling that she would learn to value her self, and might just be okay in the long run.
Catherine Lamb is the co-founder of Fabricate Theatre, barely a year old. One of the objectives is to produce fast-paced theatre to attract younger people and this is an excellent example of a piece of theatre that not only meets but also transcends that ambition.
Bunny is a relevant work that speaks to young people but also to us 50-somethings, who are that mother – apologising for making “the wrong effort”, searching for the “how to raise a teenager” handbook, and feeling quite pathetic as we blurt out we’re “worried but not sure about what”. This has a far broader reach.
It is no surprise that Jack Thorne is an award-winning playwright – the play is so tightly written – and I’d advise anyone to go and catch Catherine in this production as I really think we will be seeing a lot more of her in the future. I certainly hope so.