The Rabbit and the Rose

Taking a seat for The Rabbit and the Rose is a treat. Before the show commences, we are welcomed with live plaintive guitar which, coupled with soft blue lighting, creates a mysterious atmosphere indicating magic is about to take place. Unfortunately, it did not. The Rabbit and the Rose is a family show centred around a group of eccentrics who have gathered to tell the story of a young musician and his quest to discover true pain to give his music the special quality it is lacking. Though not the most complicated story to grace the stage, the sheer off-the-wall madness of the journey’s events often makes it incredibly difficult to follow. At one point the stage was crowded with squirrel bandits; a man in a tiger onesie; a cardinal and a sock hydra on top of the principal characters for no obvious reason other than ‘because we could.’ More confusing than funny, the whole affair felt alienating - like a private joke amongst the cast.

Often the script seemed to indicate jokes that in reality simply made little sense. One character even appeared to be in love with the mysterious being who embodied the lighting. Most of the ideas in themselves are very creative, but there are simply too many packed into the space of an hour to be properly developed or even properly appreciated before we are whisked onto the next wacky event. Particularly innovative are the invisible butler and the flame eyed something-or-other - I blinked and therefore missed what it was supposed to be - and the show would have benefitted from greater emphasis on these stronger elements, rather than packing in every idea that came to mind.

Darker than many family shows, The Rabbit and the Rose is fearless in its facing up to misery and loss, but certain themes feel inappropriate for the intended audience. I like absinthe jokes as much as the next man, but 7 year olds have no need of knowing that fennel is the primary ingredient for a hallucinogenic beverage. In attempting to appease everyone in the audience, the humour ended up being inaccessible to the children, who gradually lost attention as the show progressed.

Since you’re here…

… we have a small favour to ask. We don't want your money to support a hack's bar bill at Abattoir, but if you have a pound or two spare, we really encourage you to support a good cause. If this review has either helped you discover a gem or avoid a turkey, consider doing some good that will really make a difference.

You can donate to the charity of your choice, but if you're looking for inspiration, there are three charities we really like.

Mama Biashara
Kate Copstick’s charity, Mama Biashara, works with the poorest and most marginalised people in Kenya. They give grants to set up small, sustainable businesses that bring financial independence and security. That five quid you spend on a large glass of House White? They can save someone’s life with that. And the money for a pair of Air Jordans? Will take four women and their fifteen children away from a man who is raping them and into a new life with a moneymaking business for Mum and happiness for the kids.
Donate to Mama Biashara now

Theatre MAD
The Make A Difference Trust fights HIV & AIDS one stage at a time. Their UK and International grant-making strategy is based on five criteria that raise awareness, educate, and provide care and support for the most vulnerable in society. A host of fundraising events, including Bucket Collections, Late Night Cabarets, West End Eurovision, West End Bares and A West End Christmas continue to raise funds for projects both in the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Donate to Theatre MAD now

Acting For Others
Acting for Others provides financial and emotional support to all theatre workers in times of need through the 14 member charities. During the COVID-19 crisis Acting for Others have raised over £1.7m to support theatre workers affected by the pandemic.
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The Blurb

A strange band of friends have gathered to tell you a story. A story of love, pain, average musicians, fennel, small mammals and one very terrible flower. Trouble is, they've never agreed on the ending...

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