Brighton Fringe 2008
Story of a Rabbit
Venue: The Pavilion Theatre, Brighton
Festival: Brighton Fringe
With music, banter and unbridled theatrical invention, the irrepressible Hugh Hughes and his best friend Aled walk a twitching tightrope between tragedy and comedy as they lift the lid on life’s final mystery.
Story of a Rabbit is a very special kind of show, one that is open and honest with its audience, whilst constantly surprising them with humour and sadness in equal measure. It unashamedly purports to be a ‘multimedia show’, which could justifiably fill an audience member with horror – but Hughes charmingly highlights the way in which the show is ‘multi media’ as he combines the use of a powerpoint presentation and an old slide projector.
Focusing largely on the subject of death, seeing this play is not a morbid or harrowing experience, but rather a touching and beautiful examination of a man’s relationship with his father and how he copes with his father’s death. This story is also woven in with the ‘story of a rabbit’ – a more amusing sideline to Hughes’ fathers demise. However, it is testament to Hughes’ skill as a performer that neither of these stories are delivered with any less sincerity – indeed it is his child-like earnestness that makes his performance so captivating.
The style of the show is also unusual in that it serves to deconstruct the traditional notion of theatre – Hughes points out to the audience the props that are dotted around the stage, the remote control for his computer, and also the sound and lighting boards that his ‘Good friend Aled’ manages to operate as well as playing the keyboard and guitar. This gives the lovely effect that the show is a haphazard affair, with Hughes talking about whatever comes into his head. The skill of course lies in the fact that this is obviously a meticulously constructed piece of theatre, which goes off on random tangents, but ultimately fits together like a jigsaw.
Hughes’ imagination and talent, (along with the excellent music provided live onstage by Aled,) has created a real gem of a show, so packed full of honesty and integrity, that by the end most of the audience were in tears. His sweet charm was engaging and unusual, and he had an obvious talent as a storyteller. Five star theatre!