Tom and Bunny Save the World

Thu 3rd – Mon 28th August 2017

reviews

Zoe Boothby

at 13:12 on 14th Aug 2017

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‘Tom and Bunny Save the World’ is a hilarious mismatch of music, comedy, politics, feminism, regional accents, and… zombies. The show wisely chooses to capitalise on the widespread feelings of impending doom so common in 2017, but in a much more subtle and enjoyable fashion than many of the other dystopian plays at the Fringe this year. So, in this vein, Fat Rascal Theatre presents its audience with a depiction of a zombie apocalypse in London which has forced our protagonists to seek refuge by travelling north to Yorkshire. The show is a rollicking ride, with plenty of laughs and a killer soundtrack.

Jamie Mawson and Robyn Grant star as Tom and Bunny respectively, and are both immensely likeable stage presences. Grant especially owns the stage with her energy and enthusiasm, commanding our attention with her performance; whether she is attempting to seduce a Welsh vet, or knocking out zombies left, right, and centre. Jonny Holbeck’s musical performance was very enjoyable, as he sauntered around the stage strumming his guitar amidst the chaos unfolding before him. Fantastic support is provided by Luke Dunford, Rosie Raven, and Allie Munro, as the chemistry between the cast as a whole sizzles: you really get the sense that something special is happening in the room.

The play pokes fun at the UK’s regional stereotypes, but in a way which feels good-natured and never patronising: a home counties kid exposes his ignorance of the geography of the North; two characters from Yorkshire obsess over their love for England’s largest county (and its pudding namesake). The show is punctuated with short musical numbers, which are possibly its greatest strength, as they help elevate it from an amusing piece to something quite unique and remarkable. The political elements of the play are understated yet effective: it is the female characters who are able to combat the killer virus, created by the government, as they rally together to save a world which has been destroyed by men (sound familiar?).

The play takes place in ‘The Box’ at George Square Gardens. When picking up our tickets, the attendant advised us to look for ‘the, like, container’. We probably shouldn’t have been so surprised to learn, then, that the show actually takes place in a shipping container, boxy frame and corrugated iron to boot. The austere and shabby setting matched the themes of the play perfectly, and created a (welcome) atmosphere of claustrophobia.

There’s a lot to be taken away from a show like ‘Tom and Bunny Save the World’: you could leave having just enjoyed the laughs, or you could appreciate the political commentary cleverly woven into the fabric of the story. One thing’s for sure though: there isn’t much else about this month as thoroughly and relentlessly entertaining.

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Charlie Stone

at 13:45 on 14th Aug 2017

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A quirky, hilarious and bizarre musical production in which a diverse group of characters attempt to fend their way in a zombie-apocalypse Britain, 'Tom and Bunny Save the World' is a highly entertaining show, and definitely worth anyone’s time at the Fringe. Set in the ‘Box’, a tightly enclosed venue off George Square, it keeps the audience right next to – and at times in – the frenetic action, where not a moment is still and one is always engrossed.

The set itself is used wonderfully. On one side, a map of the UK with geographical stereotypes (I was not too pleased with being either part of the ‘posh people’ sect or the ‘arrogant wankers’ one, but I was their point) and on the other, a set of radios which turn into a picture of the sea as the plot develops. Somehow, the actors manage to hide behind these screens in order to change despite being surrounded on three sides by the audience. This was a very well-rehearsed and slick production, and there was some wonderful chemistry between the actors as they sway to the movement of a car or pull up a duvet to sleep behind.

The writing is entertaining, intelligent and imaginative, and despite the story being based in a post-apocalyptic world, it is hard not to say the script is convincing. The songs, too, are a treat for the ears whilst also containing some pertinent lines: ‘It’s like we grow more human in disaster’ stood out for its truth as much as anything else. Each actor has a superb individual ability to make the script his or her own, including the guitarist, a commentator on the show who becomes a character towards the end, and provides a constant guitar rhythm which gives the musical a great cadence.

The only criticism of Tom and Bunny Save the World might be that it ends too early – it is an hour long, and leaves the audience wanting more which is surely a positive thing, but the plot is cut short just as we are all expecting a climactic point in the quest to prevent this virus afflicting the country. Despite the relative brevity of this story, though, each character is developed competently and it is easy to work up a sympathy with all of them. Thanks to their ease with which they engage with the audience, the characters do take on a very human aspect.

This musical, then, is an expertly enjoyable piece of art, and definitely worth a visit at the Fringe.

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