Interview: Scram & Scrum on Hutchy the Hare, ‘Playful children’s entertainment with existential horror’

by Jim Keaveney

Scram & Scrum team  Hutchy the Hare to VAULT Festival with performances beginning this evening in the festival’s Studio space. The show marries children’s television with a dash of existential horror, combining theatre and film in a warped adult fairy tale about growing up, or refusing to…

The Scram and Scrum team, Ed Cooke (writer/performer), Giulia Hallworth (director), Nefyn Edwards (performer), got together to tell us a bit more about the show.

Q&A with Ed Cooke, Guulia Hallworth and Nefyn Edwards

What can you tell us about Scram & Scrum Theatre and your production, Hutchy the Hare?
Scram & Scrum Theatre is an ensemble born from East 15’s “CT” course for actor/creatives, headed up by myself, Giulia Hallworth and Nefyn Edwards. After training together in a range of styles, we formed this trio as a group of friends both to encourage each others’ wildest ideas and also tell each other when our ideas are terrible.
“Hutchy the Hare” was our first show together that began as a commission for E15’s Debut Festival, and this marks its first production in front of the public. Combining the worlds of playful children’s entertainment with existential horror, it’s a psychological thriller with filmed segments that’s packed with whimsy, and more than a few surprises.
What was the original inspiration for the show?
At my grandmother’s funeral we released Disney character balloons as a symbolic gesture to a recent Disneyland holiday. It was sincere, yet it bothered me, as an unsettling question was planted in my head: “is the comforting media of childhood becoming a means of spiritual guidance in our modern world?”, and this raised terrifying implications of multi-billion dollar companies profiting from this new emotional need.
If you go back and watch stuff like ‘Barney the Dinosaur’ and ‘Hi-5’, which I grew up hooked on, it’s quite creepy how much it plays like state propaganda at times, and there’s been lots of work that plays with this particular brand of uncanny valley I find both entertaining and viscerally upsetting. Throw in the fears and anxieties of a global pandemic and this unholy monster was born.
What’s it like to be bringing the show to VAULT Festival?
This is our second show at this year’s festival, our first being a grounded drama named ‘An Apology to Lady Gaga’ and this is a different animal entirely!
Taking this particular piece to VAULT is beyond exciting as it’s a great fit for the anything-can-happen sensibility there! When you head to VAULT, there’s a feeling that you’re hoping to discover something a bit different and off-the-wall, and there’s something satisfying about the idea of people heading underground and stumbling upon this.
How do you think audiences will react?
I think our audiences are in for an hour of laughs, squirms, and ‘what the f*ck?’ moments, but for all the craziness and bombast, there’s a beating heart to this show that I hope stays with people!
How would you describe Hutchy the Hare to someone considering buying a ticket?
Ed: An episode of the Tweenies if it happened to be a horror story.
Nefyn: Every horrifying YouTube video you’ve ever watched rolled into a loveable children’s tv show.
Giulia: Barney the Dinosaur meets Black Mirror.