Wild Rice’s A Little Wild’s first production The Velveteen Rabbit is a charming adaption of the classic book by Margery Williams that explores themes of friendship and self-acceptance, and tugs on the heartstrings.
Overview of The Velveteen Rabbit by Wild Rice
It’s Elly’s birthday and she receives a new toys as presents. One is a shiny race car, with flashy bells and whistles, while the other is a hand-sewn Velveteen Rabbit that doesn’t do much more than just be.
When Elly is not around, the toys in the nursery come to life.
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The Velveteen Rabbit shares his feelings of inadequacy when compared to the other toys in the nursery. The old Skin Horse comforts him and tells him that he can become “real” when a child truly loves him.
He becomes Elly’s favourite toy but these thoughts still persist, and he longs to be “real”.
A Contemporary Adaptation of a Classic Tale
Wild Rice’s A Little Wild’s version of The Velveteen Rabbit takes the story, originally published in 1922, and gives it a contemporary setting.
Children will be able to relate to scenarios such as Elly lighting up with glee when she finds that she can skip school because she is on MC. Elly’s mum (“you can call me Aunty”) decides to make her a hot cup of Milo to help her go to bed.
Drawing in the Audience
What stood out for us was how interactive and engaging Wild Rice’s The Velveteen Rabbit was for its young audience. Even before the show started, Aunty was mingling with the audience, welcoming little ones to the theatre.
The show does a good job of drawing in the audience; at one time, the kids were even calling out to the actors on stage, turning the performance into an almost-pantomime.
The kids clearly had a good time in the theatre.
The cast was made up of Jeremy Long, Claris Tan, Elizabeth Loh and David Puvan.
Jeremy Long was perfect as the Velveteen Rabbit, eager to please and yet finding it difficult to shirk off his lurking self-doubt. He gave Rabbit vulnerability that had the audience empathising with him.
Claris played Elly with both playfulness and wide-eyed innocence, giving her both the bravado to conjure up adventures with her favourite toy rabbit, and yet being scared of the dark and being left alone.
Elizabeth Loh and David Puvan seamlessly swopped between different roles, at times making us do a double take.
The set of The Velveteen Rabbit was ever changing, with different pieces being moved around imaginatively to keep things interesting.
We were also delighted that sound designer Serene Tan, better known as Stan, was on stage throughout, providing a live sound track to the performance.
Review of The Velveteen Rabbit: A Heartfelt Tale of Friendship & Love
The Velveteen Rabbit is directed by Ian Loy who many will know for his work with Esplanade’s Playtime. With a run time of around 50 minutes, the show moved quickly, balancing splashes of humour with more introspective moments. If anything, we felt the ending came too abruptly.
A Little Wild’s The Velveteen Rabbit captures the essence of a timeless classic, presenting it afresh for a new generation of young audiences.
Watch The Velveteen Rabbit at Wild Rice @ Funan from now till 26 August 2023.