Brendan Cowell
Lyric, Hammersmith

Frantic Assembly have built a great reputation for stylish and exciting work that is well-designed and beautifully choreographed.

While their latest production, Rabbit, bears the usual hallmarks of directors Scott Graham and Steven Hoggett, Brendan Cowell's script doesn't really go anywhere.

Helen Heaslip as Madeline Cave wants to drop her Law course to become a rapper. This will allow her to be with her DJ lover, Spin (played by Sam Crane). It also means that she can indirectly embarrass her broadcaster father (David Sibley).

Sadly, the family battle forces one innocent little titular animal to take on far more degrees of symbolism than seems reasonable. It represents both Madeline's father and lover as well as a dead baby and probably much more.

Rabbit is often poetic, with a rap feel and sounds meaningful. However, the deep symbolism and portentous language cannot cover the fact that this investigation of death and generational angst is over-long and directionless.

What is left is still a rewarding experience as Deadly Avenger's music is combined with great choreography and, at least from Helen Heaslip, some cool dance moves. Dick Bird's set, possibly modelled on a Patrick Caulfield painting, is also notable with its "fishtank" containing a forest and a mountain. With a stronger plot though, it could have been so much better.

Reviewer: Philip Fisher

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