Murder suspect a victim of circumstance
By HELEN THOMSON
Tuesday 12 December 2000
Chasing Rabbits, by Mark Fletcher,
performed by Peter Hardy, Chapel off Chapel, December 14-17
Peter Hardy is familiar to us from many cops and robbers television shows,
such as Blue Heelers, Wildside, and the film Chopper. So this 40-minute
play by Mark Fletcher, set in a police interview room, sees him on familiar
He plays Nick Walsh, who has been taken in by the police after the
discovery of a smashed vehicle and a dead man.
Nick admits to a degree of complicity, telling them of his fear at being
chased and run into by an unknown assailant in the vehicle. Apparently a
frightened victim, he swerves out of the way deliberately so that the car
behind is hurled down the steep river valley and into oblivion.
The police keep at him until we also begin to wonder what it is they are
trying to uncover. Nick is plausible, angry, impatient, and just wants to be
Gradually an ugly story, with its roots in Nick's childhood, is revealed,
police patience rewarded as their suspect begins to crumble and the
complex truth is told, bit by bit. Nick is in fact a murderer, but one with a
motive that might justify his anguished violence.
Like his interrogators, we must decide if he is guilty or not - is there such a
thing as justifiable homicide?
There is a final, desperately ironic twist to the end of this story; Nick is
caught between the shame of being revealed as a victim of incest, and the
judicial consequences if he tries, for the sake of his mother and sisters, to
This is an intense piece of theatre, one that relies upon both the strength
and subtlety of the actor's characterisation, his timing and delivery crucial
to the suspense built up by the skilfully crafted narrative. Peter Hardy is
excellent in the role of Nick, maintaining the character's moral ambiguity,
and our fluctuating sympathy, right to the end.
The play raises serious questions about the destructive consequences of
paedophilia, of the lifelong sentence of guilt and shame for the victims, and
their right to justice.
Thursday, August 17, 2000
Festival dramas probe child, spousal abuse
By Joe Matyas, Free Press Arts & Entertainment Reporter.
Most of the entries in the London Fringe Theatre Festival lean to laughs, but Chasing Rabbits by Mark Fletcher stands out for its serious content.
Peter Hardy, who stars in the intense one-man show, is an actor who makes his living playing cops and crooks in Australian television and film productions.
He's a professional who delivers a riveting monologue for 40-minutes as a man whose past as an abused child catches up with him.
The play opens with Nick Walsh under police interrogation for a motor vehicle accident involving road rage -- or so it appears.
As the play evolves, layers of lies are peeled away like onion skins until the horrible truth emerges.
Hardy covers a wide range of emotions, as a tortured soul unveiling a family secret under pressure.
He never speaks directly to the audience. Instead, he presents one side of conversations with police and parents in such a way that the audience feels their presence.
Chasing Rabbits will be performed for the next four days at the festival.
LONDON ONTARIO FRINGE FESTIVAL WEBSITE REVIEWS
Posted by Craig Cole on August 13, 2000 at 17:03:03:
A searing drama about sexual perversion. Brilliantly acted and written.
I came away wishing that the play had been expanded to 60 minutes instead
of the actual running time of 30 minutes, but this is top notch fringe theatre
Re: Chasing rabbits.
Posted by Trish on August 16, 2000 at 08:13:47:
In Reply to: Chasing rabbits. posted by Craig Cole on August 13, 2000 at 17:03:03:
: A searing drama about sexual perversion.
I have to disagree with this sentence! My take on Chasing Rabbits is that it explores the anger, sadness, shame and ultimate desperation of a man who appears to be "unshakeable." Sexual perversion is by no means the central theme. Peter Hardy presents an incredibly powerful and polished performance.
I would very much like to see more of this actor's work!
This Australian one act is probably one of the Fringe Festival's shortest shows,
clocking in at just over half an hour, but that's no reflection of the power of the
drama in Chasing Rabbits. Written by Melbourne playwright Mark Fletcher,
the piece begins in a police station with the investigation of a car accident ,
and in each subsequent scene the stakes get higher as the truth of what
Peter Hardy does a phenomenal job of taking his character through a range of
emotions and memories, ultimately leaving the audience sitting stunned in their chairs at the conclusion of this one-man show. Chasing Rabbits explores the relationship between cause and effect, crime and punishment, in a drama that ends quickly but stays with you for a long time afterward.
Fringe Festival 2000
by Mark Fletcher
PERFORMERS: Peter Hardy
VENUE: Phoenix Playhouse Mainstage, 1914 Nicollet
DATES & TIMES: 8/4 at 8:30, 8/6 at 4:00
Reviewer: Jon Skaalen
One man, on his own, telling a story of "an accident" in an interview room. Beautifully written and performed, the play implies the other characters. We don't need to see or hear them because the focus is on this one man, and what really happened. I believe him from the beginning. Unexpected turns take place, and I still believe him. Silences are filled with wondering. We are rapt, riveted, for 30 minutes when this Australian leaves the stage, having presented a perfectly polished show. A superb performance.
Minnesota Association of Community Theatre Website
STAR TRIBUNE MINNEAPOLIS
From rabbits to bloody Marys, no two shows alike at Fringe Festival.
Chasing Rabbits at the Phoenix Playhouse Proscenium Theatre
In this tabloid-style interrogation-cum-confession, Australians Mark Fletcher (writer) and Peter Hardy (actor) deliver a very specific and accented story about sexual abuse and death that has broad resonance. And it's all told at a table by one person, sweating and pulsing as he defends but winds up betraying himself about a vehicle he ran into a gully. The work is a harrowing, and sometimes horrifying, 32 minutes that feels like a long drop off a cliff. It uses blocks of darkness to give a theatergoer time to digest the gripping story. The dark beats regulate your breathing.
SAN FRANCISCO FRINGE FESTIVAL WEBSITE REVIEWS
1play = Chasing Rabbits
2name = david l. levine M.D.
3email = email@example.com
4rating = 5 Stars
5review = What a powerful piece of theater. The suspense slowly built to
an unexpected and horrifying climax.
1play = Chasing Rabbits
2name = Denise Dee
3email = firstname.lastname@example.org
4rating = 4 Stars
5review = Like that amusement park ride "mousetrap" where just after
you drop and your stomach lurches, and you think you've fallen as far as
you can go. There's another drop. He had me every minute, even when I
wished he didn't.
1play = chasing rabbits
2name = eric
3email = email@example.com
4rating = None
5review = this one got buried by accident and a lot of people didnt get to
see a really high quality piece of work. intense, intensely acted, cut to the
bone at thirty five minutes. this guy really knows what he's doing and
delivers the goods.
1play = Chasing Rabbits
2name = B.Malinowski
3email = firstname.lastname@example.org
4rating = 4 Stars
5review = Taut, well-written. Moves from funny to chilling in under 35
minutes. To reveal any of the plot would give away too much of this
drama about a very serious subject. Extremely well-acted.
Click on to go to review:
Minneapolis Star Tribune : Rohan Preston
Pulse Magazine Minneapolis : Kim Surkan
MACT Website Review : Jon Skaalen
London Free Press : Joe Matyas
London Ontario Fringe Website Reviews
San Francisco Fringe Website Reviews
The Age, Melbourne Australia : Helen Thomson
Post, Perth Western Australia : Sarah McNeill
Perth Western Australia
Chasing Rabbits at The Blue Room Theatre
Perth actor Peter Hardy has spent most of the past eight years playing a variety of cops on TV.
He comes home to Perth for the Fringe Festival with a devastatingly good play in which, for a change, he must face the cops.
Chasing Rabbits is a one-act, one-man play by up-and-coming Melbourne playwright Mark Fletcher.
In just 40 minutes, character Nick Walsh moves from cocky, self-assured bravado to desperate, frightened victim. The journey is swift but moving and terrifying as the truth of a fatal car crash is revealed in sharp flashes of scenes.
Peter, who has performed this piece in New York, Melbourne, London, Dublin, Adelaide and Ontario, is strong, confident and powerful in this role. It is a superb performance in a fine and tightly-written play.
The West Australian, Perth WA : Ron Banks
The West Australian
Perth Western Australia
Melbourne writer Mark Fletcher's Chasing Rabbits is a taut little psychological thriller where the pieces of the jigsaw finally fit in chilling fashion.
Set in a police station interrogation room, it gives us a one-sided view of the events that have led to a tragic accident when a car has gone over a cliff and
the occupant killed.
The only witness to the accident is now being grilled by the police, who are finding it difficult to believe his story that it was an accident and not the result of foul play.
Peter Hardy plays the protagonist Nick, the only character on stage. He sits at the table in a pool of light, indignantly defending his version of events and resentful that he is being questioned at all.
We learn from his responses and reactions that the police have other information and the real story of Nick's relationship with the accident victim is slowly revealed in tense, sharp monologues punctuated by stage blackouts.
Chasing Rabbits is a dark tale of family dysfunction, performed compellingly by Hardy, a Perth-raised actor who has spent the past seven years in Melbourne.
Only 40 minutes long, the play pares the psychological insights to the bone, yet there is plenty to consider when it reaches its shattering conclusion.
It was Mark Fletcher's first major success as a writer and Hardy has already taken it to festivals in New York, Minneapolis and Los Angeles after its premiere in Melbourne.
Fletcher is certainly a writer to watch out for.
Chasing Rabbits is disturbing in its revelations, but to say any more would destroy the essential element of surprise.
At the Blue Room.