Bat the Father, Rabbit the Son – Review

The New Theatre

2/11/17

Rabbit

Rabbit is a self-made man, a king of Dublin haulage, a businessman through and through. Sitting in front of Keogh, one of his employees, Rabbit tells us of how he built Rabbit haulage from nothing, or at least from nothing more than a ladies bike and his Butlin’s Rock legs. He’s proud of what he has built, and isn’t going to let anything take the place of his name in haulage. He says he started with a ladies bike, but even a fiercely independent character like Rabbit can’t entirely deny his past; Rabbit wasn’t always Rabbit.  As he cuts a deal with Keogh, Rabbit finds himself thrown off track, some  things won’t be forgotten and as he speaks the spirit of his father, Bat, bubbles up irrepressibly and pours through his mind and out his mouth pushing Rabbit into flashbacks and anecdotes of a time past, when Rabbit was Terence in short trousers.

This warring of Rabbit’s sharp businessman’s personality with that of his father, a Citizen’s Army member and pawn shop assistant who takes lie at a more forgiving pace, is impressively executed in Donal O’Kelly’s relentlessly engaging script and impressive performance. O’Kelly’s writing is replete with subtle hints at exposition and backstory amongst Rabbit’s bluster and pronouncement, while still leaving space for irreverent and mischievous storytelling throughout. This is complimented by his energetic style of performance that brings the spark and vivacity of his writing to life.image-06

The simple stage design comprised of a steel table and chair, constructed by Aideen Farell, provides a dynamic canvas for O’Kelly’s invention. Paired with Cathy O’Carroll’s lighting design, these elements combine to truly transport the audience down the Liffey with Rabbit, Keogh (and Bat).

Bat the Father, Rabbit the Son is a must see, an irrepressible feat of storytelling that explores the relationship between father and son, and past and present with insight, humour and verve.

Bat the Father, Rabbit the Son  runs at The New Theatre, Dublin until 11th November.

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