Bunny review at White Bear Theatre, London – ‘an uneven revival’
It’s been seven years since Jack Thorne’s one-woman play Bunny premiered in Edinburgh, where it won a Fringe First.
Thorne has gone on to pen Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, and adapt Let the Right One In for the stage.
His earlier piece is knotty and interesting, a very recognisable portrait of a young woman. Catherine Lamb, whose new company Fabricate Theatre produces, plays Katie, a clever girl trying hard not to use her brain. She’s upper working class, with well-meaning parents who reinforce the value of education, but she’s living in the sort of dismal English town that can stamp out any sense of hope or opportunity.
Lamb captures Katie’s easy charm, but the performance feels slightly scattergun at times. She places too much weight on odd moments, dragging the play out, and robbing the ending of its dramatic power.
Bunny suffers from the problem so often seen in solo shows: a throw-everything-at-it approach that suggests director Lucy Curtis feared not sustaining the audience’s interest.
Balloons burst, there are bears and clouds and furniture gets pushed about with Lamb shifting continually from one side of the room to the other. But all the movement and action feels like a distraction, especially when the writing’s good enough to sustain your interest. Thorne’s play is particularly strong on the garbling nervous-energy horror that is existing as a teenage girl.
But while Curtis’ production contains some gorgeous moments – there’s a House of Pain section that’s golden – it feels tonally uneven and over-full.
We need your help…
When you subscribe to The Stage, you’re investing in our journalism. And our journalism is invested in supporting theatre and the performing arts.
The Stage is a family business, operated by the same family since we were founded in 1880. We do not receive government funding. We are not owned by a large corporation. Our editorial is not dictated by ticket sales.
We are fully independent, but this means we rely on revenue from readers to survive.
Help us continue to report on great work across the UK, champion new talent and keep up our investigative journalism that holds the powerful to account. Your subscription helps ensure our journalism can continue.