By Samuel J. Cox
The Blue Room has been killing it this season, but misses the mark with this exercise in confusion. The two-woman play centres on BFFs Holly and Violette, who begin by burying Rabbithead, Violette’s fluffy pet bunny.
Wearing platinum coloured wigs that had them looking like Daenerys Targaryen (she can handle my dragon…), there’s lip-syncing, black lighting and disco balls. The stage was hidden beneath a mountain of fluff, and all up the claustrophobic space looked like a Katy Perry music clip. But it soon became a twisted Gaga nightmare. Holly inexplicably transforms into Rabbithead (the pet rabbit they buried at the play’s beginning), and Violette and her boyfriend Bottle-O Rob, a literal, not a metaphorical, cockroach, birth half-human, half-cockroach babies. The share house becomes dangerous, rather than cloying, and the BFFs turn on each other.
Dressed in their underwear for much of the piece, the absurdly revealing attire is uncomfortably intrusive and voyeuristic rather than erotic. While I can confidently tell you the actresses are citizens of Rack City, it felt cheap like a Miley Cyrus stunt.
Billed as a performative response to Barbara Baynton’s 1896 short story ‘The Chosen Vessel’, it instead comes across as an existential homage to Franz Kafka, whose seminal work ‘Metamorphosis’ is about a man who one day wakes up as a cockroach.
Narrator Humphrey Bower appears to be trying to teach the audience something in his concluding monologue about the dead not staying buried and nature’s vengeance, but I didn’t get it.
However, to loosely quote Marilyn Monroe, it is better that the play is absolutely ridiculous than absolutely boring. Featuring drugs, alcohol, violence, and insanity, it’s like a Hunter S. Thompson novel but more surreal and sinister.
‘Rabbithead’ runs until June 14 @ The Blue Room Theatre.
For a taste of what to expect, watch this trailer: http://vimeo.com/96177019