EFR - Reviews of Hug the Bunny

Hug the Bunny

Wed 8th – Sat 18th August 2018

reviews

Emilia Andrews

at 21:25 on 10th Aug 2018

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Upon entering the room, I was immediately met by four young women methodically circling around a space which they later refer to as “the box” which they are trapped in. ‘Hug the Bunny’ is a feminist take on female hysteria, and “the box” is the mind of a woman named Nina who we never meet. Instead, we become well acquainted with her emotions: Rage, Nymphomania, Ecstasy, and Numbness. These are played by Sarah Pumphrey, Sophie Abramovici, Betsy Robertson, and Damie Lemomu respectively.

All four actors put on a simply fantastic performance, each consistently embodying the emotion they are named after through their engaging movement and expression. Sophie Abramovici deserves a special mention for her excellent portrayal of Nymphomania, the sex obsessed character who slinks around the stage teasing and provoking Rage. Her captivating monologue, in which she at one point crawls on the floor and mimics the feline motions of a lion, particularly sticks in my mind.

Each character is extreme in their mood, with Rage being easily angered by a persistent spider, Ecstasy constantly giggling and flaunting her joy, and Nymphomania sexualising the tiny ears of a man who Nina is speaking too. The exception to these extremes is Numbness who displays the most character development of them all. This is made clear when she woefully says, “I know that there’s love inside me somewhere, I just can’t get to it right now”.

The dynamic between the characters is fiery and is at its best during the manic conversations over what to do about Nina’s pregnancy, a topic which they constantly revisit. During these moments, I really got the impression that I was inside of Nina’s head with her, listening to the conflicting voices which appear when making such a big life decision.

The set is simple, containing only a chair, a plant, and a versatile white sheet which is folded into the shape of a baby. This minimalist staging gives the characters plenty of space to move around and kept my focus on them, rather than their surroundings, as they spoke. Meanwhile, the bright, block colours which each character wears linking to their emotion (for example, yellow for Ecstasy) are another of the simple yet effective ways that this play creates a visually capturing performance.

Due to a lack of props, the physicality of the characters becomes all the more important as they effectively convey the cluttered and shrinking feeling within Nina’s mind. They bunch together, pressing against the invisible edge of the box in a moment so powerful that I felt this same cluttered sensation enter my own mind as I watched them.

‘Hug the Bunny’ is a brilliant piece of feminist writing which is performed with an energy and powerfulness which makes me feel that it is a show which will be on my mind for a while. Although, it has left me hoping that my own brain isn’t inhabited by a small group of brightly coloured, bouncing women!

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Melissa Tutesigensi

at 09:06 on 11th Aug 2018

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Pits ‘N’ Clits Theatre’s ‘Hug the Bunny’ tells the story of the inner workings of Nina’s mind as her four elements of hysteria Nymphomania, Numbness, Rage and Ecstasy come alive on stage. The play is already in action as the audience arrive, making us feel that we had suddenly dropped into their world. It is a world set in a white box intended to represent the stage of Nina’s mind. What unfolds is a display of what happens when you dare to let different and often conflicting aspects of your emotional self take hold. Executed brilliantly, ‘Hug the Bunny’ is a victory in writing, acting and directing.

They wasted no time in setting the scene. Walking in to find the four characters already moving on the stage put the audience right where they needed to be and they kept us there for the duration of the play. One element that undoubtedly aided this was the fleshed out script of delicious writing that waxed lyrical in its delivery. Phoebe Wood (writer and director) certainly knows how to lace together beautiful lines. It is so satisfying seeing a visual representation of thoughts that are often difficult to articulate in real life. After it ended, I still had certain lines floating in my head. This play is a triumph in writing of which the actors used so well, each one of them wearing the words as if they had known them all of their lives.

Each character used their individual monologues as an opportunity to reveal another layer of themselves. Numbness (Damie Lemomu) contemplated postpartum depression; Ecstasy (Betsy Robertson) buzzed around the stage in a frenzy of pure joy; Nymphomania (Sophie Abramovici) slinked across the stage; and Rage (Sarah Pumphrey) frustrated herself over the tiny details. Yet, none of these individual performances eclipsed the other. In the moments of coordination the four moved across the stage with cohesion and synchronicity in smart choreography directed by Wood and Rachel Stone (director). The transition from individual monologue to coordinated movement was a clever way of capturing the dance that goes on in our own heads of each of our emotions falling in and out of synch. I’m sure it’s something we are all familiar with; sometimes rage takes over, sometimes its numbness and sometimes they all seems to blend together. Their visualisation of this was elevated by the carefully timed light and sound.

There were slight moments of confusion as inconsistencies between the overall metaphor and the characters tangled together but this was no major weakness. The slight lack of clarity in this was swept aside by the enchanting nature of the whole performance. Pits ‘N’ Clits achieved a well-executed, charming and stimulating show. Make your way to the Greenside@Infirmary Street to see for yourself.

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