The Year of the Hare (4 stars)

This article is from 2015

The Year of the Hare

Credit: Alan McCredie

Madcap romp is a biting satire on the absurdity of modern life

Vatanen is a Helsinki wage-slave, putting in 12-hour days to ensure Finland’s paper production moves efficiently to the more profitable South America. Until he almost runs over a wild hare, that is, and embarks with the injured animal on a surreal, madcap journey involving magic mushrooms, hippie vets, wild dance parties and even a dark, wintry encounter with a sinister forest spirit.

Based loosely on a novel by Finnish author Arto Paasilinna and using an entirely Scottish cast, Ryhmäteatteri theatre company’s crazy romp of a show bristles with a raw, rough energy, jumping from scene to scene with a stuttering verve and offering bitter but savagely funny satire on everything from new age nature lovers to the unexpected advantages of global warming. Stop for a second and its pitch-black undercurrents become all too clear – as they do in the show’s more ponderous final section, which could probably do with some pruning.

Performances – from a quartet of respected Scottish actors – fizz with enthusiasm, from the care-worn David McKay as long-suffering Vatanen to Kim Allan, seductive yet touchingly naïve as the subversive hare. Its metaphors are sometimes obvious, sometimes wilfully opaque, but it’s a show that provokes, entertains, and definitely has something to say.

Pleasance Dome, 556 6550, until 31 Aug (not 17, 24), 6.45pm, £8–£10.

The Year of The Hare

  • 4 stars

After The Overcoat and Continuous Gowth the Ryhmäteatteri bring to the festival an anarchic and riotous, but ultimately touching comedy about human beings and other animals living together in a rapidly changing world with more and more problems but seemingly fewer and fewer solutions. Vatanen (David McKay) is middle-aged…