Rabbits on a Red Planet

Rabbits on a Red Planet
Book: Andy Leonard and Irving Gregory. Score: Ryley Gillen. Director Isaac Broadbent. Flight Path Theatre. 7-24 June, 2023

A musical satire that mixes science fiction, space travel, politics, undercover activists, a self-centred multi-millionaire, and giant mutant rabbits? A little ambitious perhaps? Mmmm …

There are moments of clever writing and acting in this production, and some interesting music, but eventually it all becomes a bit too much. Unfortunately, the many themes get confused in overcrowded lyrics and too-loud harmonies that reverberate in a space that is not particularly acoustically friendly.

Director Isaac Broadbent does use the space effectively, especially in the opening scenes, giving the five actors – Andy  Leonard, Isabelle Kohout, James Burchett, Sara Camara and Jenna Woolley – a chance to introduce the different groups of characters they represent, but later, when three of them are stuck in a space pod on an interminable trip to Mars, the production is bogged down in bored dialogue and long, self-indulgent solos by the wealthy, over-confident entrepreneur, Rob Muskas.

Andy Leonard plays Muskas, Isabelle Kohout his reticent head scientist, and James Burchett the interested observer who hitches a ride on this first trip to Mars – where they find a desolate planet and some Martian survivors who impatiently await a form of messiah who will save the few of them who remain.

Sara Camara plays a variety of roles including the leader of the underground activists, and Ami, one of the surviving Martians. Jenna Woolley too, plays a range of roles, using her movement skills effectively, especially as a Martian elder communicating through exaggerated gestures.  

Alli Sebastian Wolf has designed some interesting costumes, especially the gold and orange headdresses worn by the Martian elders. The space suits also add some brightness and authenticity.

This production seems longer than it probably is! A little boy in the audience expressed this graphically as he left his seat: “That was ten hours!” he exclaimed …

Carol Wimmer

Photographer: Anthony Stone

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