This weekend, Perth will host the world premiere of The Rabbits, a piece of operatic theatre based on the award winning illustrated book by John Marsden and Shaun Tan, as part of this year’s Perth International Arts Festival. Coproduced by the Barking Gecko Theatre Company and the Opera Australia, director John Sheedy will bring to life the chilling truths presented in “The Rabbits” about Australia’s colonial beginnings, featuring music composed by Queensland songstress Kate Miller Heidke.
The book was written from the perspective of small marsupial like creatures who watch their home slowly change as the rabbits begin their invasion. Visually, Sheedy has stayed true to Tan’s illustrations, taking the audience into another world, with dreamy lighting effects, and intricate and extravagant costumes. Sheedy was sure to implement feedback given to him by Marsden and Tan, as he wanted to stay true to the heart and feel of the beloved children’s book. The Rabbits was developed collaboratively between Sheedy, Miller Heidke, musical director, Iain Grandage, and librettist, Lally Katz.
The Barking Gecko Theatre Company is based in Perth that prides itself on producing shows that can be enjoyed by the whole family. When asked about the themes presented in The Rabbits, Grandage said that there are “dark elements that we need to confront”, and that these are truths that should not be ignored.
With pages soaked with powerful allegory and dramatic but poignant imagery, The Rabbits production is set to be a gripping performance. The Rabbits is showing throughout the weekend starting Friday at the Heath Ledger Theatre in Northbridge. Tickets are now sold out.