REVIEW: ORIGINAL DEATH RABBIT (Jermyn Street Theatre) ★★★

Rose Heiney’s monologue performed by Kimberley Nixon as the eponymous Death Rabbit offers a warning for those whose lives are dominated by social media, where a “like” can briefly give you a false idea of being the most important person in the world but where an anonymous adverse comment can prompt a disproportionate feeling of self loathing.

On the eve of her 32nd birthday, our heroine sits alone in her squalid flat, the posters for Richard Curtis films adorning the walls signalling her penchant for romantic escapism. She’s dressed in a soiled rabbit onesie and preparing to tell her life story to the webcam on her laptop.

We hear about her love of poetry, her time as a student at Oxford where she fell under the spell of a radical feminist and how the mental health problems suffered by her father are putting pressure on her family.

What with one thing and another she recounts how, dressed in the rabbit onsie, she inadvertently crashed the funeral of a young boy, ends up being photographed by a local paper and thus becomes an internet sensation.

Her fleeting few minutes of fame is intoxicating and before long her life becomes a rollercoaster that is measured in likes, follows, unfollows and hashtags and where everything must be experienced through the prism of the internet, including the birth of her sister’s baby.

Despite some very witty lines, this is ultimately a painful story of a woman suffering loneliness and a lack of self-worth and beneath the humour there is a real darkness.

At an uninterrupted 90 minutes it begins to feel a little too long, but it’s held together superbly well by Kimberley Nixon who pitches her performance perfectly and is intensely moving in what is ultimately a tragic story that offers a stark warning about the reliance on transient friendships.

Reviewed by Tony Peters


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