Theatre in the Mill, Bradford
When a piece of work has this much heart it’s impossible to hate it. Fortunately, in Dom Grace’s Rabbitskin, there is also much to love.
A monologue that plays the trick constantly of wrong-footing the audience, it’s never entirely explained why Joe is telling us his story.
A bare room, littered with books and a table: are we in Joe’s imagination or actually in the room with him? Initially it seems this confessional is taking place in the space of maybe some sort of therapist’s office – but the lack of clarity about the setting is the first thing that throws the audience slightly off kilter. Maybe we don’t need to know the parameters of the story, but it does leave you feeling a little confused.
Joe, played with a beautiful vulnerability by Luke Adamson, isn’t sure why his story should even be told – he’s not interesting like his heroes Holden Caulfield, or David Copperfield. He does, however, convince himself to share his story, the story of growing up a young Irish Catholic boy living in Leeds whose mother dies before he can really form any memories of her.
Full of poetically written and played out lines, it is also bursting with authenticity.
One of the issues with the piece is that it feels a little inconsequential. It falls into the trap it sets for itself at the beginning of having Joe wonder aloud if his story is too insignificant to tell. When it ends abruptly you wonder if there should be more – but perhaps that is a good sign too. Seven, Leeds, Feb 22, 23.