Presented by Bamboozled Productions
Reviewed 12 March 2017
The play was written by Nassim Soleimanpour in 2010. Soleimanpour refused to do two years compulsory military service, was thus denied a passport and was unable to leave Iran. The play has been translated into 20 different languages and performed more than 1000 times by actors such as the late John Hurt, Juliet Stevenson, Arthur Darvill and Whoopi Goldberg. On discovering he was unfit for military service Soleimanpour could leave Iran and he saw White Rabbit Red Rabbit for the first time in person in February 2013 in Brisbane.
The sole actor, tonight it was Anthony Lamond, is presented with a sealed envelope which he opened on stage and the performance began. Members of the audience were asked to participate and we had two very young ladies, one eight the other perhaps 12 or 13, a young man plus five other ‘rabbits’, who all made wonderful contributions to the humour of the play which has somewhat dark underlying themes. It was somewhat ironic that I had a role as ‘the note taker’ given that I was there as a reviewer.
Soleimanpour’s work considers the meanings of time – his time when he wrote the play and our time when we are watching and hearing it and how that distance in time is not important as we, the audience, become part of his imagined world – not physically part of his time and place but coming together through the performance of the play. As the author says, he lives only in the words of the play – his imagined world.
White Rabbit Red Rabbit presents a fascinating amalgam of philosophy, politics, psychology and religion and this is by no means an exhaustive list. Different elements will, of course, speak to different people in different ways. A recurring theme in the play is the question of choice with which we are confronted throughout our lives, from the simplest matters to issues of life and death. These choices can direct and define our lives and through the work the playwright is ‘testing the limits of obedience’ of all of us – for doing both good and evil – will you be a White Rabbit or a Red Rabbit?
I highly recommend this play as it does the things theatre’s supposed to do – it is a great evening’s entertainment, it makes you laugh, it supports local actors but most important of all it makes you think!
Reviewed by Jan Kershaw
Rating out of 5: 4
Venue: The Parlour at Royal Croquet Club
Season: 13-19 March
Duration: 60 mins