Calling all hardened drama lovers – it’s time to reunite your thespian tribe for a two hour peek into eight months of family tragedy. (Image source: Joh Hartog Productions).
By Simone Pickstock | @SimonePickstock
It’s not uncommon for playwrights to examine and reveal the human condition through their work. Most art is an expression of one’s experiences after all. Pulitzer Prize winning play Rabbit Hole by screenwriter David Lindsay-Abaire is no exception. That said, perhaps what makes this story so special is its ability to explore loss without being overtly maudlin.
The overarching premise of Rabbit Hole is to expose the impact of grief. No parent wants to outlive their child, but for protagonists Becca and Howie, this is their reality. We meet them eight months after the premature death of their four-year-old son Danny. Becca is like a flame in the wind, volatile and temperamental. Meanwhile, Howie armours himself with a perpetual fake smile – the perfect juxtaposition.
Praise must be given to Krystal Cave and David Daradan who dazzle as the suburban couple. They walk the fickle precipice of their character’s sorrow with such modesty that we become convinced each footstep is their own.
The play’s director, Joh Hartog, approaches his creative role with the same subtlety. The set, lighting, sound and even the theatre itself is simplistic and subdued. Hartog knows the heart of the play rests with his protagonists. He keeps the focus on them by minimising distractions. It’s a fantastic display of discipline which grounds the play and compliments its realist roots.
Rabbit Hole is definitely not for everyone – it caters to a very niche audience. If you are the type of person who worships Dame Judi Dench, loves a glass of red wine and a thought-provoking conversation, this production will fulfil your hunger for good independenttheatre.
If action flicks and crass humour are more your vibe, give this a miss. Anyone looking for some weekend filler or a night of laughs should avoid Rabbit Hole. At the very least, be prepared for its gloomy frequency. There are not enough witty interludes to puncture the play’s sombre mood.
Seasoned theatre goers can marvel at Hartog’s nuanced adaptation of Lindsay-Abaire’s timeless tale live at The Bakehouse Theatre until May 8 2021.