Edinburgh Fringe 2019
Small Mercies theatre’s Little Rabbit directed by Bill Hopkinson and performed expertly by Deborah Pugh (Theatre Ad Infinitum) treads the line between fantasy and tragedy in this ever unfolding one woman show.
Susan is a girl on a staircase, she is dressed all in pink and is a very good girl. She introduces herself to us with childish delight and invites us into her world. Introducing us to her favourite books, dolls and soft toys. She tells us it’s raining, it’s raining so much that there are ducks swimming down the road and the water is seeping into the house. She is allowed to look out of the window but she mustn’t knock and definitely mustn’t be seen. The toaster’s broken because it fell in the water and her Dad’s asleep in the chair downstairs.
It soon becomes very apparent that Susan is not all she seems, retelling her memories of her jumbled life events we discover that she is not the small child we thought she was. She is in fact much older and a silent voyeur to the outside world. Restrained by lessons and scoldings learned from her mother. She’s not allowed to go outside anyone, she’s not allowed to go to the baths anymore, she must stay inside where it’s safe.
But what happens when inside becomes very unsafe, her Dad wont wake up and her mothers not with us anymore? Susan, a child trapped inside her house and a woman’s body must figure out her escape before the water becomes impassable.
Deborah Pugh is stunning as Susan moving around the space with childish wonder, tottering up and down the stairs and dropping paper boats into the ever rising waters. Sadly, I feel her performance was slightly let down by the writing.
Like many plays at the Fringe this year it feels like a much longer play curtailed to an hour for the Fringe audiences. The ending for me felt rushed and I wanted to find out more about her past, what had happened to her father and what on earth happened with that Little Rabbit. Setting the play a bit longer would have strengthened this as a piece of writing at the Fringe and as a more successful piece of theatre.
A thrilling, chilling ride cut short too soon, but on the basis of the hour presented and the performance I am happy to recommend it.