Rabbit

Previewed 5 September 2006, Opened 7 September 2006, Closed 7 October 2006 at the Trafalgar Studios 2

Nina Raine's debut play Rabbit in London for a strictly limited five week season

Friends and former lovers meet for a drink to celebrate Bella's 29th birthday. But as the Bloody Marys flow, the bar soon becomes a battlefield... Nina Raine's debut play is both ferociously funny and tender with heartbreak.

This production transfers to London's West End following an acclaimed sold-out run at the Old Red Lion Theatre in Islington, North London.

Cast includes Ruth Everett, Adam James, Hilton McRae, Charlotte Randle, Alan Westaway and Susannah Wise who all reprise their roles from the original Old Red Lion Theatre production, along with Martin Turner .

The cast features Charlotte Randle as 'Bella', Hilton McCrae as 'Father', Ruth Everett as 'Emily', Alan Westaway as 'Tom', Adam James as 'Richard', Susannah Wise as 'Sandy' and Martin Turner. Directed by Nina Raine with designs by Jaime Todd, lighting by Colin Grenfell and sound by Fergus O'Hare.

"Just when you thought no more fun could be had from the sex lives of middleclass young adults, a play proves again that they are an inexhaustible mine of entertainment. Nina Raine's self-directed comedy has its clunks and dithers, but a knack for truth and dialogue, plus some fine performances, easily compensate for the moments where naivety creeps in. Bella's father (Hilton McRae) is dying from a brain tumour, and Bella (Charlotte Randle) is out celebrating her 29th birthday by getting pissed with, among others, seething ex-boyfriend Richard. Short flashbacks to Bella's relationship with Dad punctuate their chat. McRae's performance is charismatic, yet these scenes smell of functionality, investing the play with a contrived urgency and burdening Bella with childhood traumas that aren't that interesting. The real meat is in the banter. Bella and chums talk like all such fictional groups, that is, like your friends, but with twice as much eloquence and four times as much emotional honesty. The topic, predictably, is sexual politics - who treats whom worse, women or men? - but Raine makes it fresh. It's partly the writing. There are real laughs decorating Bella and Richard's pointed rants on the trouble with women/men, and the barroom opinions are expressed so well they sound original." The London Evening Standard

"The 30-year-old director Nina Raine turns playwright with Rabbit. Although her domineering father, seen in flashbacks, is in hospital dying of a brain tumour, PR exec Bella insists on celebrating her 29th birthday with female mates and two former lovers. As Raine entertainingly charts the small talk and tensions between the different sets of friends, more telling dialogue emerges amid familiar battle-of-the-sexes banter. It's the girls, not the boys, who objectify their sexual conquests, part of more deep-rooted insecurities that include Bella wrestling with a once dominant but now fading patriarchal presence in her life. In also touching on the unreliable nature of memory, Raine tends to spell everything out towards the end. But the shifting dynamics of the group are deftly handled by the script and a strong cast, including Charlotte Randle as the pugnacious but vulnerable Bella. All credit to the director, who happens to be Raine herself." The Times

Rabbit in London at the Trafalgar Studios 2 previewed from 5 September 2006, opened on 7 September 2006 and closed on 7 October 2006