This sparky, surprising, and brilliant
exposition on grief, love, and family, bounds along thanks to a superbly
talented young cast and pinpoint direction.
Written by Jack Thorne (Skins, This
is England) it focuses on Tom (Matthew Doswell) as he grieves for his brother
Luke (Jack Fisher), and his idiosyncratic plan to bury him under the pavement
where he died.
In the process he comes across a rapid
succession of unlikely characters, drawn with piercing accuracy by a flexible
ensemble that nail the darkly comic tone.
Doswell leads superbly, evoking the
confused surreal world of a grieving teen, barely absent from the stage during
the hour-long run. Heather Kelly is brusquely sympathetic as his sister, and
Ali Hunt a captivating modern street urchin.
This is a striking and heart-wrenching
production with a very limited run; don’t miss it.
Bunny deserves something better than this review.
Or rather, Rosie Wyatt – who delivers an astounding one-hour monologue as the heart of Jack Thorne’s play – does.
As Katie she deftly tells the story of an afternoon walk home from school in Luton, an seemingly innocuous adventure that becomes the canvas for a revealing series of events.
A fight, stand-offs, romance – or at least the casual, confused, hurtful teenage kind – and the sometimes tumultuous coallition of cultures that makes up life in modern Britain are woven together with revelations of her formative experiences, all told in a passionate, authentic and evocative voice.
Thorne (who wrote the screenplay for last year’s excellent The Scouting Book For Boys, based in a north Norfolk caravan park) expertly unfolds the story, interspersing the day’s events with memories of birthday parties, shoplifting and sex; the dialogue nestling unsettlingly between street patois and the Guardian-reading vocabulary of Katie’s parents.
Against a subtle and sensitive backdrop of animated illustrations by Ian William Galloway and Jenny Turner, Wyatt crafts this in to an exceptional and captivating performance, blissfully unaware of herself but displaying her character’s fully self-conscious state and gently mimicking the other players in the retelling both verbally and physically.
The performance won last year’s Edinburgh Fringe First Award and it deserves to win many more; it also deserved a bigger audience in Norwich, and the Playhouse more support for bringing drama of this calibre to the city.