Brighton Magazine

The Brighton Magazine

Selected Brighton Magazine Article

Sunday 26 October 2008

The Truth's Out Of The Hat: There's No Magic In 'What All The Rabbits Are Doing'

Deep in the heart of Hove's Brunswick area there is a small but vibrant venue, The New Venture Theatre.
Good Cast, God-Awful Production @ New Venture Theatre

To enter you walk through a small red doorway, past the ticket office and into the bar.

To the strains of "Ma Vie En Rose" the bar opens up, it is huge, truly huge, and has some kind of is-now-cool 1970's kiosk shaped wooden bar that sits dwarfed by the dimensions of the room.

All complete with period clock. It is a huge white space punctuated by production photographs and an eclectic mixture of chairs and tables.

What could be a kind of awful Regency minimalist fusion is gently mocked by both the bar and the furniture.

The staff are fine, and their Jack Daniels is only £1.80 a shot, so things are going well, so far.

As curtain-up nears, a modest spattering of couples aged anything from 20-50 years old drift in, the interested-in-theatre Independent reading office types mix with die hard goatee-boys in brown cord jackets and soft green scarves (It's not even that cold).

At this point a man with a gun and handcuffs enters the room, looks around, and walks out.

Slightly anxious I check my whiskey to make sure it has not been spiked but no, thankfully, he is part of the cast.

Polite and friendly staff call us into the Theatre, a reasonable sized room, painted black with good raised seating.

Unfortunately, at that time, the play "What All The Rabbits Are Doing" by Sabotage Theatre began.

I do not know what all the rabbits were doing that evening (eating carrots, having sex, being shot at by angry farmers?) but I bet they were having a much better time than I was.

If you want a recipe for of piss-poor theatre then it goes like this.


*Always have nudity, lots of it, (esp. young females) but of course be ready to decry anyone who accuses you of exhibitionism.

*Always have lots of shouting and angry faces that slowly fade to mock-sad poses. (The brilliant BADAC Theatre in London is the one exception to this rule).

*Always have lots of gunshots, preferably more than two.

*Pretend to 'deal' with difficult issues (in this case, rape) but do so in such a ham-fisted manner that you end up using the subject for your own ends rather than tackling it. There is a difference, a huge gaping difference.

*Have few extra people running around in silly costumes, with umbrellas for rifles of course, being "weird' for good measure

*Lots of lines that sound profound but are actually very silly.

*Make the text so confusing that people think it must be good because they do not really understand it, and are too afraid to admit it to their friends.

*Add some poor copies of Pinter-esque lines/moments in for good measure.

*Give it a really silly title.

*This play has just about all of these.


The acting talents of Chloe Thorpe and Elena Saorin were a real highlight in this production, but even their talent, keen sense of timing, and an obvious talent for the comedic could not save this appalling production.

The play was written (badly) by Zoë Hinks (the nude model) and directed (badly) by her and Rhys Lawton (the prisoner), neither of whom impressed me at all.

These were so many scene changes it caused a draft.

It may well be deemed by some as good enough for an internal student project, but out in the real world it does not cut the mustard, full stop.

People are paying good money and they should expect a lot better than this.

I could attempt to relate to you what this play was about but you have better things to do with your life, and so do I.

This is the kind of production that puts people off independent theatre for good and enforces all the kinds of annoying clichés that truly good productions are always so keen to avoid.

In fact, for only the fifth time in 8 years, and over 250 plays seen in that time, I actually walked out during the interval.

I just no longer cared what happened. I am sure the New Venture Theatre. can, and does, do much better than this usually.

This nonsense is running until god knows when; avoid it at all costs, whatever you do, because it is truly awful.

by: Howard Young (Theatre Editor)




Share    

Photo credit: Sante D'Orazio

In 1988 Sussex resident Keith Richards released his first ever solo album, Talk Is Cheap, an eleven track masterclass in everything rock 'n' roll.

The concept for the debut album from Faith Eliott came about via Faith's interest in medieval bestiaries, which are illustrated compendiums of animals. 
Photo credit: Julian Ward

A clip of award-winning poet and comedian Rob Auton performing on Comedy Central has recently gone viral with nearly four million views on Facebook.

Brighton-bound Sam Morrow's Concrete and Mud is a confident album, rooted in Texas twang, southern stomp, and old-school funky-tonk. 
Steve Hackett photo by Tina Korhonen

Brighton-based musician, promoter and studio owner, Stuart Avis, recently sat down with Steve Hackett, who, as one fifth of Genesis during their 1970's prime prog phase, has gone on to build himself a reputation as one of rock's leading and most innovative guitarists. 

The Ballad of Johnny Longstaff is the story of one man's adventure from begging on the streets in the north of England to fighting against fascism in the Spanish Civil War, taking in the Hunger Marches and the Battle of Cable Street.  

In 1978, after having sold millions of records and become one of the biggest international artists of the 1970s, Cat Stevens decided to step out of the rock star spotlight and walk away. That year, he was to release his final album under that name.

Creators of stage show Wild, Laura Mugridge and Katie Villa, want us to think about that thing we have all been through, but very few of us talk about, through a bold, riotous and strikingly visual show.

Maverick Sabre's third album When I Wake Up is an acutely personal and poignant body of work from the songwriter and artist and includes guest appearances from Jorja Smith and Chronixx.

Brooklyn-based band Air Waves' new album, Warrior, is about being a Warrior in a queer body in this political climate, lead-singer Nicole Schneit's mother being a Warrior fighting chemotherapy, and being a Warrior in relationships. 

Written just a year apart, Lone Star in 1979, Laundry & Bourbon in 1980, the plays share the same setting, themes and connected characters and, not surprisingly, are usually presented on the same bill.

Ian McKellen is to celebrate his 80th birthday this year by raising funds for theatres, with a new solo show which will play on 80 stages across the UK, including Theatre Royal Brighton.
Pic by Grant

Winner of the first ever Women of the World Poetry Slam in 2008, Andrea Gibson remains one of the most captivating performers in the spoken word poetry scene today. 

Archive search

Search our archives for what's on and gone for the best of this city's theatre music comedy news and much more...







Organising a conference or event in Brighton?
See our Brighton Conference section.
Brighton web design by ...ntd