Bunnies, Salisbury Playhouse

LIVING with his two teenage children in a crumbling old house, local farmer Stamper reminisces how his country used to be – traditional and beautiful – and wonders where it has gone.

His daughter Eva is devoted and dutiful; his son Max distracted and vaguely disturbed.

Farmer Stamper finds a leaflet proposing a “solution”

to the “problem” of non-native species – including the Chinese crab, the Siberian chipmunk, the European rabbit, and even the grey squirrel – wreaking havoc and blighting “our once great land”.

The plan is to eradicate non-native species by killing them, much to Eve’s horror and Max’s inertia.

As animals are grotesquely “despatched”, Stamper croons his macabre version of Sinatra’s My Way to a bloodstained knife as Garfunkel’s bittersweet Bright Eyes is distorted by the sound of industrial machinery.

While Eva is repulsed and decides to leave, Max becomes obsessed with developing “the solution” to include the killing of unhelpful native species.

There are clear parallels with Nazi Germany’s “ethnic cleansing” as Stamper and Max adopt slogans, armbands and salutes, but there is also a niggling subtext of Britain’s immigration situation today.

This edgy and thought-provoking new play builds to a horrific conclusion as Eva is imprisoned and Max takes over the butchery from his reluctant father.

Playwright Kieran Lynn has created a powerful parody on the destructive nature of nationalism.

Runs until Saturday.

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