- Lorna Irvine
- 23 August 2017
Charming play which wraps around issues of home and language
The follow-up to Iranian playwright Nassim Soleimanpour's hugely successful White Rabbit, Red Rabbit follows a similar format: a different actor is selected each night to read – unrehearsed – Soleimanpour's words, with surprising results. He has been censored as a performer in his own language, and as with White Rabbit … , Soleimanpour plays with the role of actor as puppet and writer as string-puller. In this case, China Plate's Chris Thorpe takes to the stage. He is a generous, quick-witted performer, and gamely allows himself to be manipulated by Soleimanpour (initially hiding behind a screen), as the playwright's hands move wry, sometimes cheeky, instructions like a big children's story book.
There is one significant difference – this time, the charismatic playwright now joins Thorpe in person onstage but still remains mute, and after an awkward exchange wherein the two men attempt to teach each other phrases in English and Farsi, volunteers are selected to join in telling stories based on the fables of Soleimanpour's childhood. When he refers to his mother and the universality of unconditional love, it's overly sentimental. Far more affecting, and potent, is when the two discuss the breaking down of barriers, and the power of words to cross cultures, continents and political restrictions.
Traverse, until 27 Aug, times vary, £19.50 (£14.50).