Theatre Review - Rabbit Hole

In David Lindsay-Abaire’s Pulitzer Prize-winning drama, Becca (Claire Skinner) and Howie Corbett (Tom Goodman-Hill) are grieving the loss of their four-year-old son Danny who was killed in a car accident eight months earlier.

The New York suburban couple suffer conflicting emotions: Howie consoles himself with watching home-movies, Becca wants to sell the house; Howie suggests trying for another child, but Becca cannot contemplate it. To complicate matters further, Becca’s best friend hasn’t spoken to her in months and her sister Izzie (Georgina Rich) announces that she is pregnant.

Lindsay-Abaire focuses on Becca’s emotional journey and her gradual realisation that although the pain will remain, she has to move on. She is helped in this by the unexpected arrival of Jason (Sean Delaney) the teenager who accidently killed Danny as he swerved to miss the family’s dog. In a heart-breaking scene between the pair Jason reveals that he is dealing with his own paralysing guilt and the fear that he may have been driving marginally over the speed limit. A story he has written, about rabbit holes and parallel universes, offers them both some comfort.

Some comic interaction between the family helps punctuate the play’s melancholic mood. Edward Hall’s slick production, complemented by Ashley Martin-Davis's detailed, multi-levelled design, is finely acted. Ultimately, though, Rabbit Hole feels a little too polished and neat; grief is messier and uglier than Lindsay-Abaire suggests.

Hampstead Theatre until 5 March 

Originally published by Camden Review