They don’t make ‘em like they used to. Families, that is.
And on that note, movies too. Inspired by a 1952 Julie Harris film, One Yellow Rabbit’s Smash Cut Freeze is a dysfunctional family fever dream, set in the good old days. But like the best ‘works-inspired-by-works’, it stands on its own. You don’t need to know any of this to enjoy what goes on. You just need to be able to enjoy good theatre.
And it is good theatre. It’s an absolutely typical Rabbits production, meant in the best manner. Minimal in all the right ways. Wordplay that sticks and lines that linger. Hypnotic, almost dance-like movements. Oh, and utterly phenomenal acting across the board (Denise Clarke, Andy Curtis, Chris Duthie). And it’s all wrapped up in a dark and challenging package, while still remaining oddly accessible.
Focusing on a husband and wife in the 50’s with the ‘only only child’ on the block, they have little choice but to spend a lot of time with each other. And yet very little communication or understanding goes on between them. There are threats and outbursts, genuinely terrifying and sometimes uncomfortably sexual in their undertones.
But despite being from the son’s perspective, it’s the parents who are front and centre. Fuelling each others’ insanity and insecurities, pushing all the right buttons until something explodes. And repeating the process over and over again. They’re the crazy old couple from Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, only this time, the son they keep talking about is real.
But how much of Smash Cut Freeze is reality? Established as a lucid dream from the now-much-older son, the set literally floats, strung up from the ceiling. The telephone, fridge, picture frame, kitchen sink and even the door levitate and drift aimlessly. Certain sounds and lines amplify and echo and hang in the air (what was it, a microphone embedded into the table?). It’s otherworldly but intimate, that perfect mix of hilarity and horror. They don’t make ‘em like they used to, but they aren’t making anything like this now.
Smash Cut Freeze runs until the end of January.