Velveteen Rabbit Is Opposite Of Shabby At Unicorn Theatre

BelindaL
By BelindaL Last edited 44 months ago
Velveteen Rabbit Is Opposite Of Shabby At Unicorn Theatre ★★★★☆ 4

Christian Roe as Velveteen Rabbit with Ashley Byam as Boy

Londonist Rating: ★★★★☆

The Velveteen Rabbit tells the story of a small boy and his friendship with a stuffed rabbit. With his cheap fur coat and outmoded qualities, he is the nursery's second class citizen, full as it is with mechanical toys which taunt him. Yet, as this magical and gorgeous adaptation of the 1922 classic proves, the simplicity of the old fashioned storybook still holds sway for children, even in the iPad age.

Christian Roe’s rabbit makes us fall in love with him, as much as his owner, the Boy who at first doesn’t notice his new toy but then cannot bear to be separated from him. His floppy physicality is a marvel. The tiny movements, such as a twitch of the eye make us believe he really is a rabbit toy — was that eye a beady glass one, we wonder? Wilkie Branson’s playful choreography draws lovely little chuckles from the packed young audience, as the rabbit flops onto the bed and gets squashed by his affectionate owner under pillows. Yet, this being a classic, there are adult themes too, with love, friendship and death sensitively dramatised through the simple retelling of the rabbit and his eventually rather sad fate.

The storybook feel is part of the enjoyment. James Button's charming sets recreate the adventure and friendship — pillow fights that release feathers become snow and a stormy sea that yields a campfire complete with marshmallows. We are encouraged to be still, to listen and to marvel at the pictures.

Staged just a few days after International Children’s Book day, Velveteen Rabbit is a very welcome and timely reminder of the reasons to encourage kids to enjoy the classics. Our neighbours — two small boys and their mum — were here for the second visit and we can completely see why. This Velveteen Rabbit is a delight and a joy.

The Velveteen Rabbit is at the Unicorn Theatre, 147 Tooley Street, SE1 until 26 April. Tickets: £10-£16. Londonist saw this production on a complimentary press ticket.

Londonist_bannerv4

Last Updated 05 April 2015