The Siege/Bunny – Pulse Fringe Festival, Sir John Mills Theatre

Well I’m confused. When is a play not a play? For me a basic requirement is some form of dramatic progression or tension. For the opening show in this year’s Pulse Fringe Festival we are offered a rehearsed reading of The Siege (although we are told in the introduction that it is now called Bunny).

Skins and Shameless writer Jack Thorne has created a 75 minute monologue about life in Luton. Now rehearsed readings are notoriously difficult to pull off, however hard the actor tries the mind is always thinking about potential staging. In this piece however you wonder how this material would work at all in a staged production.

The problem in Siege/Bunny is that the material is just not theatrical. Words hit you like a machine gun at 100mph and therefore you miss much of the nuances of the script. There are some witty one-liners but this are few and far between. It seems more like a literary reading of a novel. The overuse of description; ‘he said’, ‘she said’, ‘they did’ suggests this piece is one better read than watched.

The other big problem with the piece is that there seems to be no dramatic tension in the piece, it may be a tale of domestic life in Luton but we just don’t care about the character or any of the other thinly drawn characters she encounters. Perhaps with more development Siege/Bunny could work (by the way, neither title serve the play well) but I would suggest this is one for print rather than stage. A disappointing start to Pulse 2010.

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