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White Rabbit Red Rabbit

Posted: 11 Feb 2018 02:52 AM PST

★★★☆☆     Eager

Roxy Assembly: Sun 4 – Thurs 8 Feb 2018
Review by Liam Rees

A chair. A table. An envelope with a script inside, waiting for an unprepared actor.

Since its premiere in 2011, White Rabbit Red Rabbit has taken the theatre world by storm; famously requiring neither director nor rehearsals, just a new actor each night who has no absolutely idea what is going to happen.

Naturally it doesn't easily fit into the category of a traditional play but rather can be called a theatrical experiment that explores into our propensity towards compliance.

The Iranian writer, Nassim Soleimanpour, is proof of the saying "Necessity is the mother of invention", effectively trapped in his own country due to his refusal to undertake military service White Rabbit Red Rabbit served as his passport and allowed him to engage with audiences across the world.

Such first-hand experience of systematic abuses of power and blind social compliance makes itself known not only in the show's content but in the theatrical form as well. We, the audience, are cast as actors in Soleimanpour's stories and he playfully invites us to consider what it means to be an actor and spectator.

In this Annexe Arts Company production, as part of the Formation Festival, Hannah Forsyth took up the mantle, following in the footsteps of countless celebrities. Forsyth delves headfirst into Soleimanpour's unique acting challenge and she proves to possess a great ease with the audience.


She effortlessly convinces us to join in, although one suspects this may have been aided by the presence of many Annexe Rep members, no doubt eager to get onstage themselves. While this provides plenty of comedic opportunities, in the form of many an animal impression (as called for by the script), it did unfortunately undermine elements of Soleimanpour's social critique.

One imagines that with a larger crowd and less familiarity between the actor and audience, some of the script's requests may take on greater significance. However that is the very nature of the script and is a crucial part of the show's appeal.

On the whole there's much to enjoy in this revival, from the thrill of discovery and gradual realisation of our own involvement in the fable to the deft intelligence of Soleimanpour's writing and ability to manipulate an audience from the other side of the globe.

Though it could be perceived as a tad gimmicky, the marriage of form and content proves more than a satisfying. Soleimanpour has got himself a winning formula here and it will undoubtedly return to Edinburgh's stages soon.

Running time: One Hour
Assembly Roxy, 2 Roxburgh Place, EH8 9SU.
Sun 4, Tue 6 & Thurs 8 Feb 2018.
Run ended.

Annexe Arts on Facebook: @annexeartshub.


Typecast casting call

Posted: 10 Feb 2018 02:14 PM PST

Auditions for EdFringe As You Like It adaptation

New Edinburgh company Typecast Productions has put out an open casting call for its EdFringe 2018 production of Ganymede, an adaptation of Shakespeare’s As You Like It.

Auditions will be held over the weekend of 17/18 February 2018, at the Napier Merchiston building on Colinton road. The production will have a full three week run at this year’s Fringe.

The adaptation, by Typecast founder Jamie Gould, recasts the play as a trans story and Gould has already cast trans actor Ash Alexander in the role of Ganymede, the persona which Rosalind assumes in Shakespeare’s original.

Gould told Æ: “I’m a trans artist, and it struck me that As You Like It was clearly a transition story which sort of runs out of confidence in the final act and ‘they all go home for tea’!

“My answer to this has been to add my own opening and ending while keeping the original Shakespeare (cut down for time and cast size) for the bulk of the story.

“Additionally, my first Fringe appearance on stage two years ago was as a trans actor playing a trans character (Max/The Boy in Playback by Laurie Motherwell) and I’m really happy to be paying forward a similar experience to our lead actor, Ash as Ganymede.”


Gould is looking for a cast of six – five actors with playing age in their 20s and one male with a playing age of over 40.

He has also set up a Patreon account for the production, so that he can at least provide a token payment for his cast and creatives.

He points out that at the fringe – in particular – there are a lot of companies which occupy that grey area between amateur and professional. They can’t afford to offer fair pay to their cast and crew, who are themselves often made up of very experienced amateurs, theatre students and the like.

Gould adds: “Profit shares are common but they generally barely cover expenses for the duration of the show and can’t hope to acknowledge what is often six months of rehearsal time.”

Full details of the Patreon account are available at: www.patreon.com/typecastprod.

Character outlines

Celia – Lesbian Female, playing age 20s
Orlando – Gay Male, playing age 20s
Oliver – Male, playing age 20s
Phebe – Female, playing age 20s
Silvius – Male, playing age 20s
Reverend Frederick – Male, playing age 40+ (Celia’s father).

“Specifications for the characters of Celia and Orlando are included as a guideline to actors. All younger characters involve a certain level of intimacy, but Celia and Orlando in particular involve kissing and a certain level of physicality. It’s entirely up to you whether you feel comfortable playing to or against your personal preferences, and nobody will ask in the audition.”

Listings and links

Auditions for Ganymede
Napier Merchiston Campus, 10 Colinton Road, EH10 5DT
Saturday 17 February 2018
Two sessions: 12noon-2pm and 3pm-5pm.
These will each take the form of a group audition with pair and small group script work. Those who have a preference should sign up for a specific slot, if not then the company will try to balance the groups. To book an audition slot, send a personal message to Typecast’s Facebook page: @typecastprod.

Napier Merchiston Campus, 10 Colinton Road, EH10 5DT
Saturday 17 February 2018
12noon-2pm: Recalls for Silvius, Phebe, Orlando.
3pm-5pm: Recalls for Reverend, Oliver, Celia.

Paradise in Augustine's Studio.
Saturday 4- Saturday 25 August 2018
Daily (not Sunday): 10am.
Preview: Friday 3 (late afternoon).

Typecast Productions on Facebook: typecastprod.
Twitter: @typecastprod.
Patreon: @typecastprod.