A Cautionary Tale

Kate Ellis

Rabblerouse Theatre

The Lab, Theatre Royal Plymouth

From 13 December 2017 to 14 December 2017

Review by Karen Bussell

Compact, creepy and cautionary indeed.

Plymouth’s young and vibrant working company Rabblerouse Theatre offers up a fresh and chilling look at the nastiness of nursery rhymes blended with a touch of coming of age and secret societies. And all in an hour with just four actors and a sofa.

Chloe Carrubba is most believable as naïve Dr Lottie, trust-fund backed and willing to sell her soul to promote her foundation and secure royal patronage, Oscars and sequels. Back draughts can’t be excluded and friendships must be sacrificed as she takes a bite of the forbidden apple.

Affable Griff (Matthew Reeve) and anxious Bo (James Luckraft-Law) struggle with leaving student days and ways with a baptism of fire and betrayal paving the way back from the brink to self-made, hard-earned success, splintered loyalties and redemption.

Carly Barnes completes the quartet as menacing ringmaster extraordinaire with top hat and flashing baton and doubles as the sinister Robin, gatekeeper to fame, fortune, parliaments and palaces … and ignominy.

Dark tales of creepy little weirdos, maimed children and ghastly deaths intertwine with Faustian undertones. The language is rhythmic and poetic, and the quartet mesmerise with just a few slack moments in a tense and taut, and most entertaining lesson: a rise meteoric must be followed by a fall catastrophic.