I made a mistake when I chose to sit in the second row to review Fat Rascal’s latest musical show Tom and Bunny Save the World at the Brighton Fringe, it’s a force of habit from reviewing stand up shows where it’s usually more comfortable all round if I’m not front row and centre. I somehow ended up sitting behind a family of four with the biggest hair I have ever seen, I don’t know how they managed it, it wasn’t particularly curly, just… colossal. That’s fine, I thought, so I won’t see what’s going on on stage from the knee down, no big deal. However it was a vaguely big deal because some action takes place with the actors sitting, or in one instance lying, down your intrepid reviewer may have missed some details.
The Warren’s shipping container space lends itself well to the setting of Tom and Bunny Save the World, where the zombie apocalypse has arrived in 2018. The set is simple, with a map of the UK that has been annotated with somewhat inaccurate descriptions. Or accurate depending on where you’re from.
Opening with a hotch-potch of breaking news segments and man-on-the-street soundbites an atmosphere of chaos is created before the deadly calm… It seems somehow only Tom, who is extremely organised if a little wet behind the ears and Bunny, due to being ostracised by her girlfriend, have survived the “jam faces”. They join forces to drive to a place of safety, to find they are not as alone as you might think…
Much of the humour is in the vein of Victoria Wood, juxtaposing high camp action with humdrum concerns. Writer and star Robyn Grant knows comedy is in the everyday. As with their previous musical Beauty and the Beast, no cast member is left behind (the beauty of the zombie genre is of course that you can’t kill off a character so easily) and the quick-witted dialogue sparkles.
Tom and Bunny Save the World depicts 2018 as it should be, more zombies, less gender stereotyping. Frankly, it’s the direction I wish The Walking Dead had taken.