Review: White Rabbit, Red Rabbit at the New Theatre

A whole host of great performers (Stephen Rea, Olwen Fouere and Peter Daly amongst others) have signed up to be ‘the actor’ in Nassim Soleimanpour’s play ‘White Rabbit, Red Rabbit’ which is currently being staged in The New Theatre as part of the Fringe Festival, so with such high calibre performers it must be good!

Beginning with a quick reveal of that day’s performer (in my case comedienne Maeve Higgins); the play moves pretty quickly with ‘the actor’ reading a script they see for the very first time when they step on the stage in front of the audience. The script weaves between insane yet meaningful tales and an explanation of the structure of the play from the playwright who ponders on to whom and where it is being performed today.

A highly self-conscious playwright, Soleimanpour refuses to serve military duty in his homeland of Iran and is therefore refused a passport by the Iranian government. Instead of creeping around after people on Facebook like your average geographically restricted stalker; he has taken to writing this play which is, as he describes it, his passport to the world. It is his way of telling his tales to people in countries he may never visit. Requesting the audience members to carry out certain tasks, play certain roles and take pictures to be emailed to him; Soleimanpour is very much the central character in this highly interactive play.

Maeve Higgins did a wonderful reading of a script which was full of surprises for both her and the audience and while all the way off in Iran, I very much felt as if Soleimanpour was with us in the theatre – in fact I thought for a moment he may  walk through the door or reveal himself as one of the audience members.

Sometimes a piece of theatre can be simply an entertaining story well told through script and performance, and other times it can be an obscure piece of theatre which challenges the way we perceive the world and turns strongly held opinions upside-down; however White Rabbit, Red Rabbit has managed to combine lovely stories with a play that is simply constructed and also happily, very unique too. A breath of fresh air that’s not to be missed (unless you really, really don’t like audience participation!), catch White Rabbit, Red Rabbit at the New Theatre until September 22 at 1pm each day (except tomorrow) – more info here >>

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