Thursday, 20 August 2015

The Year of the Hare - Review (Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2015)

The Year of the Hare is an eccentric and fiendishly mad piece of theatre. It is brought to you by Ryhmateatteri theatre company and a cast of four talented and energetic actors who clearly enjoy every minute of their time spent performing this tale.

The play itself has the feel of a 21st century fable, warning your average corporate businessperson of the dangers of losing your imagination and your connection with nature.

The play starts extremely strongly, with clever staging and use of props telling the story of a man fed up with his job and his marriage, who ends up punching a trainer at a conference and crashing his car off the road. He subsequently injures a hare which is befriends and takes with him to travel through Finland. It is an amusing concept which works within the context of the play, as daft as it sounds.

I found myself thoroughly enjoying the first half an hour or so. I was ready to give it a rave review and to tell everyone I know about its mad but fun ideas, use of the projector and multimedia elements, dozens of wig changes and the interesting and heartwarming overarching themes and messages. However, something changed after the first half of the show, after a karaoke scene which lasted for four songs. The idea was great but it lasted far too long, and I could feel the audience around me slipping into boredom and slowly distancing themselves from the action on stage. The story took a strange turn, with Vatanen running off to the wilderness and a scene involving a thieving raven. This joke was funny to begin with, but the scene was far too long and the joke became tired quite quickly.

The ending clawed it back again, going out on an excellent and clever video montage before the metaphorical curtain came down. If the script had been cut to a make a play of between 45 minutes and an hour, I would have had barely a bad word to say about this show. But sadly, the concept was strung out for far too long and despite excellent individual performances from the whole cast, the performers couldn’t make up for some fundamental scripting issues. 

The Year of the Hare is on at the Pleasance Dome at 18:45. 

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