In Lifeline’s latest, Richard Adams’ environmental epic chronicles rabbits’ attempts to survive human “progress” and the politics of lapin society. Adapter John Hildreth successfully juxtaposes the colony’s struggles with the morals of rabbit folk tales, illustrating the need for safety and prosperity that cuts across the animal kingdom.
Rabbit Hazel (Paul Holmquist) and prescient brother Fiver (Scott Barsotti) leave their warren to escape a new housing subdivision. They encounter friends like bird Kehaar (Jesse Manson) and enemies like General Woundwort (Dave Skvarla).
Hildreth’s narrative is complex, but Katie McLean Hainsworth’s direction keeps the pacing moving; Holmquist’s movement design suggests rabbit mannerisms without Bugs Bunny stereotypes. Standout performances include Barsotti’s sensitive Fiver, whose gifts come with a price; Christopher Walsh as Bigwig, a bruiser rabbit with heart; and Manson’s Kehaar, a tough old bird who’s good for a giggle. It’s a well-defined animal world that can teach us about our own. (Lisa Buscani)
Lifeline Theatre, 6912 North Glenwood, (773)761-4477. Through June 19.