“an honest insight into female friendships”

Rhinos are solitary animals.

Jess is a solitary human.

She has just come off an average tinder date… with the drinking, and the chatting, and the kissing…. but she’s not the one for him. In hindsight. Does it qualify as hindsight when it’s only been ten minutes?

As we follow Jess’ commute home, we also follow some of her most pivotal friendships and relationships. They visit her “like some twisted version of A Muppet’s Christmas Carol”.

Firstly, we are transported back to high school, where Jess has just discovered Mr Brightside by The Killers (can confirm, a banger.) and we meet her closest friends – Anna, Alex and Tom. Already we see the chemistry between Jess and Tom, while the conversation between Anna and Alex reveals there’s trouble at home.

We snap back into current-day-sav-blanc-drinking Jess, looking back on the “carefree” days with fondness – only to come to the conclusion that “we don’t know our best days until they’re over” is complete bullsh*t. Because actually, being fifteen sucked.

From there, while the tube keeps going, the course of the friendships and relationships between the four plays out. The nuances in the conversations between Jess and Anna are to be celebrated. From singing along to Electric Dreams to wiping teary mascara – it gives an honest insight into female friendships, something that we are refreshingly seeing more and more of thanks to the likes of Phoebe Waller-Bridge and new up and comers like Leila Nashef. It is a combination of Nashef’s wholesome and witty writing and Natasha Rickman’s clever direction that shines throughout the whole play.

The show is led by Jessica Butcher as the central character, Jess. With fearless straightforwardness, Butcher’s engagement with the audience creates an immediate rapport, leaving us hanging off her every word.

Lydia Bakelman brings such heart to Anna that she captivates every scene, most notably an alcohol-fuelled bus journey on New Year’s Eve. Lewis Griffin’s portrayal of Tom with relatable awkwardness is another crowd favourite, while Rob Hadden’s portrayal of Alex ties the ensemble together.

‘Rhino’ is a part of the King’s Head Theatre’s festival of brand new work, Playmill. It The festival runs until Saturday the 20th of July. More info on the festival can be found HERE.

Words: Bridget Sweeney