The Velveteen Rabbit Musical magically winds its way onto the stage at the Albury Wodonga Theatre Company (AWTCo) this School Holidays.
Based on the British children’s book written by Margery Williams, The Velveteen Rabbit (or How Toys Become Real) tells the story of a stuffed rabbit’s desire to become real through the love of her owner, Bonnie. Directed by Lisa Cullen and Choreographed by Susan Vaccaro, the cast have been working hard three days a week in rehearsals since April.
A saw-dust stuffed rabbit sewn from velveteen is given to Bonnie on Christmas morning, played by two local young actress’ Amelie Schubert and Eleanor Neave, and she plays with the rabbit for a little while. But Bonnie soon forgets about the velveteen rabbit (Venetia Heath) and plays with the other toys in the Nursery.
The new presents are modern, and they snub the old-fashioned velveteen rabbit. The new toys consist of a Doll (Stella Klironomakis), Teddy (Matthew Davies), Boat (Peter Uniacke), Block (Kristin Klironomakis), Nutcracker (Luke Arnold), and Wind-up Mouse (Charissa Wade), who are all brought to life by local actors in fabulous costumes designed by Attillia Heath.
The wisest toy in the nursery, the Skin Horse (Craig Quilliam), tells the rabbit how toys magically becoming real, due to the love of children. The Velveteen Rabbit wishes more than anything to become real.
One night, the boy’s Nanny (Dee Cumming) gives the rabbit to Bonnie to sleep with. The velveteen rabbit becomes her favourite toy, enjoying picnics with her in the spring and imaginary games and soon, Bonnie starts to regard the rabbit as real. Time passes, and the velveteen rabbit becomes shabbier but happy. She meets some real rabbits in the Summer, and they learn that she cannot hop as they do and say that she is not a real rabbit.
One day, Bonnie comes down with scarlet fever, and the rabbit sits with her as she recovers. The Doctor (George Pender) orders that Bonnie should be taken to the seaside and that her room should be disinfected. All books and toys are to be burnt, including the velveteen rabbit. The rabbit is bundled into a sack and left out in the garden overnight, where she sadly reflects on her life with Bonnie.
The toy rabbit cries, and a real tear drops onto the ground, a beautiful flower appears. A fairy steps out of the flower and comforts the velveteen rabbit, introducing herself as the Nursery Magic Fairy (Bronte Wade). She says that, because she has become real to Bonnie who truly loves her, she will take her away and “Turn her into Real”.
The fairy takes the rabbit to the forest, where she meets the other rabbits and gives the velveteen rabbit a kiss. The velveteen rabbit changes into a real rabbit and joins the other rabbits in the forest. The next spring, the rabbit returns to look at Bonnie, and the she instantly sees a resemblance to her old velveteen rabbit and Bonnie realises that the rabbit as indeed become real.
The production features a three-piece band who bring the beautiful nursery rhyme songs to life and a fabulous cast who perfectly portray each toy from the toy cupboard and toy box. This is a show for the whole family to enjoy.
The Velveteen Rabbit at the AWTCo Theatre, 234 Olive Street South Albury opens on Friday 12 July and runs till 20th July. Book tickets online through the Albury Wodonga Theatre Company facebook page. Some tickets will be available at the door. Show duration is one hour.