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White Rabbit, Red Rabbit, Newcastle Live Theatre
IRANIAN writer Nassim Soleimanpour is a conscientious objector, trapped in his homeland without a passport.
His script arrives on stage in a sealed envelope, handed to a different actor for each performance.
There is no director, no scenery or costumes and no rehearsal.
Shaun Prendergast, from the North-East, is the actor of choice for the first performance.
He has decided to wear a black suit and bicycle clips.
“The clips are in case I s**t myself,” he explains with incorrigible humour.
Prendergast opens the envelope and paces the stage, his finger following the first words. “Right” he says, then “Oh and bloody hell,” followed by a titter of excited laughter, and, as he begins to speak the scripted words, the writer introduces himself becoming the invisible, inquisitive witness to the performance.
The script is restless, with an uneasy comic detail that Prendergast grabs with all his acting prowess.
The audience quickly begins to feed off his easy-going manner and incredibly funny sense of humour as the instructions become more bizarre and more complex with every page turned.
There are times when the words fall like heavy stones, the rabbits shiver and the writer becomes dictator; terrorist.
“To write tastes like freedom,” he tells us.
It would be churlish of me to reveal the events that unfold in this timeless piece of experimental travel. I can say for sure that it will be different every night, its success ultimately dependent on the actor.
Prendergast remained in perfect control, a blistering performance, brave as a bear and as mad as an ostrich.
- Until March 17 with a different performer every night including Sarah Millican, Donald McBride, Charlie Hardwick, Stephen Tompkinson, Kevin Whately, Stella Duffy, Tracy Whitewell, and Chris Connel. Box office 0191-232-1232 and at live.org.uk