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Review: Angella Dravid's Down the Rabbit Hole

Raphael Solarsh

An unflinchingly honest telling of an international tryst gone seriously awry, criminal justice and a fake friendship with a serial killer.
Review: Angella Dravid's Down the Rabbit Hole

Image: Angella Dravid via MICF.

When Alice falls down the rabbit hole she tumbles into a world where up is down, late is early and no-one seems to be aware of the perennial madness that permeates them all. When Angella Dravid falls down the rabbit hole, it’s a darker affair. One could talk about her story as romance gone wrong or perhaps a case of naivety. One could; but it is more her wide-eyed, matter-of-fact telling of it that makes this a comedy rather than a cautionary tale.

It all begins with a 17-year-old Angella meeting a man, twenty-some years her senior, on an online chatroom. Naturally she moves to the UK to meet him and they get married. Shockingly (I know), this does not turn into a fairy-tale romance unless, you prefer your romance with a side of courtroom drama. If the story stopped here, it would be more than enough material for a very entertaining show but that is essentially the first movement.

A friend at school, a vehement pessimist, was fond of saying that ‘when you think you’ve hit rock bottom, someone will always throw you a spade.' Indeed.

Dravid’s awkward, deer-in-the-headlights delivery is undoubtedly a feature rather than a flaw. Her dead-pan narration, in the vain of Janeane Garofalo, renders trauma into a story that can be listened to and laughed at. Her total vulnerability, her little fidgets, her abrupt ending, all make for a natural and highly relatable style even if the substance is the stuff of nightmares.

There is certainly something to be said for getting this show on stage. It takes great courage and not insignificant amount of ingenuity to first deal with the events themselves and then turn them into a show. There are a lot of funny moments and the story is compelling but overall, the uneven pacing and rawness of some parts of the story blur the line between drama and comedy—although the line is admittedly a pretty blurred one. As the old adage goes: Comedy is just tragedy plus time and while funny, Down the Rabbit Hole, still needs a little more time.  

★★★☆ 

Down the Rabbit Hole

By Angella Dravid

Melbourne International Comedy Festival

29 March – 22 April

Forum Theatre, Ladies' Lounge

What the stars mean?
  • Five stars: Exceptional, unforgettable, a must see
  • Four and a half stars: Excellent, definitely worth seeing
  • Four stars: Accomplished and engrossing but not the best of its kind
  • Three and a half stars: Good, clever, well made, but not brilliant
  • Three stars: Solid, enjoyable, but unremarkable or flawed
  • Two and half stars: Neither good nor bad, just adequate
  • Two stars: Not without its moments, but ultimately unsuccessful
  • One star: Awful, to be avoided
  • Zero stars: Genuinely dreadful, bad on every level

About the author

Raphael Solarsh is writer from Melbourne whose work has appeared in The Guardian, on Writer’s Bloc and in a collection of short stories entitled Outliers: Stories of Searching. When not seeing shows, he writes fiction and blogs at raphaelsolarsh.com and tweets @RS_IndiLit.

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