There’s a tricky dilemma in reviewing Nassim Soleimanpour’s White Rabbit, Red Rabbit. While by its very nature, live theatre differs slightly in each performance, here the uniqueness is a key part of the concept.
Soleimanpour has some ground rules. The actor must not have performed the show before, is asked not to research the play beforehand and, apart from a couple of instructions given to them 48 hours prior to the show, know nothing of the piece until they are handed the script in a sealed envelope at the start of the performance. It becomes something of an adventure for both performer and audience as both are orchestrated remotely by Soleimanpour.
To give much detail of plot would defeat the concept of joint discovery by performer and audience but suffice to say we take an increasingly dark and disturbing journey into conformity, control and culpability.
The ‘poor actor’ for this performance is stand-up comic Marcus Brigstocke, perhaps a suitable choice for a lively festival audience. Brigstocke’s comic credentials certainly come in handy as he weaves the audience into the unfolding drama, his improvisation skills adding somewhat to the planned 70 minute running time.
As the script becomes darker though, so Brigstocke’s delivery becomes more reflective and by the conclusion you feel that what may have initially seemed a comic prospect has delivered a more serious punch.
Solemimanpour’s script is far from perfect, the comic and serious alternation not always sitting comfortably and at times detracting from the message trying to be delivered. It is, however, an important piece that plays with theatrical conventions to deliver a thought provoking piece. There also can’t be any other shows around that invite the audience to email the author mid show!
Written originally for The Public Reviews