Anna Russell-Martin plays Katie. She is a young and venerable girl who speaks at a break-neck pace and expresses anxiety, intelligence and naivety. Bunny is a solo performance that charts the life of this teenage girl. She talks about having sex, racism and playing the clarinet. We also hear of how she finds herself in the back of a car with some older men and how she is coerced and abused. At times Bunny is comedic and light, other times it is dark and poignant.
Even though the performance is a fast and manic one, it does feel like it takes its time before we get to the conclusion. Katie’s thoughts tend to ramble and initially the performance relies heavily on comedy, with the protagonist making insulting comments about “fat people eating”. Maybe a little heart at the start would have created more empathy from the audience for this brash character, encouraging us to follow her story more attentively.
The Changing House is the black box space in the Tron Theatre and the stage for the performance. Tonight it is set up in a small and intimate formation, with seats around the perimeter of the stage. This format creates a close and personal tone that draws the audience into Katie’s inner monologue. A lot can also be said with minimal props. A bag of Haribo’s, an iPhone and a set of fluorescent green headphones are the only objects on the stage, yet we feel like we are in Katie’s bedroom as she divulges her thoughts on relationships and the town of Luton.
Bunny is Anna Russell-Martin’s professional debut and she handles the text well. The play is written by Jack Thorne, who is widely known for writing the television series Skins and the play Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. Bunny was first performed at the Edinburgh Fringe in 2010 and Thorne has managed to capture the voice of a teenage girl; however, in this production it is Anna Russell-Martin’s talent and delivery that really make the play shine, ensuring that Katie’s voice is authentic and genuine.