Saturday, April 6th, 2013
A MOVING story examining grief, laced with humour, compassion and honesty, is set to tug heartstrings at Melville Theatre this month.

Written by David Lindsay-Abaire and directed by Vanessa Jensen, Rabbit Hole won the 2007 Pulitzer Prize for Drama and was also adapted into a 2010 film with Nicole Kidman.

It follows Becca and Howie, who had the perfect life with a great marriage, beautiful house and lovely son.

But after a tragic accident, the couple faces the challenges of surviving great loss and making a life with the family that remains.

“It’s a beautifully written story of how a family copes with the most heartbreaking of situations,” Jensen said. “They laugh, cry, get angry, push each other away and also lean on each other.

“Rabbit Hole is a simple story, told perfectly – it’s sad but not depressing, funny without making light of the situation and finishes with a sense of hope yet doesn’t have a Hollywood-style happy ending.

“It’s a balanced, prize-winning script, far superior to the movie in my opinion, and it's being brought to life by some very talented actors.

“People shouldn’t make rash judgements about the play’s content because it’s a well-told, moving story that’s not in the least bit morbid or overdone.”

Jensen has a wealth of theatre experience behind her, after first appearing on stage as an eight-year-old and directing her first show at 14.

She wrote, directed, stage managed and acted in various shows at Curtin University’s Hayman Theatre over a four-year period and has staged several successful productions at the Old Mill and Melville Theatres, including The Venetian Twins, Emma, Three Tall Women, Pride and Prejudice, Away, Amadeus and her own award-winning script Jamie’s Chooks.

Away won Jensen the Constance Ord Award for directing at the 2010 Old Mill Theatre awards and she also received a best director nomination at the annual Finley Awards for Amadeus in 2011.

“After a run of directing period plays with large casts, I wanted to do something strongly character-driven with a smaller cast,” she said.

“I stumbled upon Rabbit Hole and read it from first line to last in one sitting, then got myself some tissues and a cup of tea and read the whole thing again.

“I was enthralled by the story and just had to stage it.”

Rabbit Hole plays at 8pm, April 12, 13, 18, 19, 20, 25, 26 and 27 with a 2pm matinee April 21. Tickets are $18, $14 concession – book on (08) 9330 4565 or at

Melville Theatre is donating $1 from every ticket sold, plus the proceeds of the nightly raffle and any donations, to The Smith Family, an organisation helping disadvantaged Australian children get the most out of their education.

The theatre is on the corner of Stock Road and Canning Highway, Palmyra. More information is available at

Rabbit Hole2: Howie (David Gardette) and Becca (Joanna Zukowski) find their perfect life suddenly comes crashing down in Rabbit Hole.

Rabbit Hole5: Nat (Shirley Toohey), (Izzy) Sinéad Bevan, Becca (Joanna Zukowski), Howie (David Gardette) and Jason (Niklas Fischer) laugh, cry and get angry with each other in Rabbit Hole.

Rabbit Hole8: Director Vanessa Jensen, centre, is bringing Rabbit Hole to life with actors David Gardette, Niklas Fischer, Sinéad Bevan, Joanna Zukowski and Shirley Toohey.

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Melville Theatre

The Melville Theatre Company was the brainchild of David J. Burton who, in 1982, called a meeting for interested people in the community to form a theatre company in the Melville area.

As a result, the Melville Theatre Company was born. The newly formed company's first production was the farce, Not Now Darling. With its second production, The Sound of Music, the young company won the Finley Award for the Best Production of the Year in Community Theatre. Since then, actors and directors have consistently featured in the list of awards at the annual State Drama Festival, now known as Dramafest.

Initially, performances were in the Melville Civic Centre but, since 1987, the venue has been the Roy Edinger Centre, on the corner of Stock Road and Canning Highway, Palmyra.
Vanessa Jensen
P: 0413 079 146


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