In bald summary, Bunny is an intimate monologue by Shameless, Skins and Cast-offs writer Jack Thorne about an anxious teen who takes her knickers off in a strange car but doesn’t have sex. What is most striking about the production, presented by new-writing company Nabokov, is not the simplicity of its conception so much as the breakneck tempo of the language.
Having watched it, I’m still not sure how self-conscious sixth-former Katie ends up on the wrong side of Luton with three men and no underwear; more remarkably, neither does she. She’s a well-spoken girl who plays in the school orchestra and uses words such as “temerity” and “illustrative”. Yet she struggles with issues of self-esteem and has a simmering vindictive streak that compels her to scratch obscenities on her father’s car and pour mince into a teacher’s tumble drier.
Thorne’s narrative, smartly directed by Joe Murphy and breathlessly delivered by the impressive Rosie Wyatt seemingly without the aid of full stops, is precariously pitched between gushing naivety and consensual knowingness. It is characteristic that the racially motivated violence of the conclusion springs from a juvenile fracas over a spilled ice cream.
It’s not perfect – on occasion Thorne pads things out with the digressive tactics of a standup routine (“There’s something about fat people eating, isn’t there?”), yet Katie has a wholly plausible tone of voice: “Half the illegal arms in the country are hidden on the Marsh Farm estate, so if civil war broke out the capital of the country would be Luton.” If nothing else, this piece shows that Thorne has a thorough understanding of the teen instinct for self-dramatisation.