Birdy – Peacock @ the Abbey – Dublin Fringe Festival – Review by Phoebe Moore
Dates Sep 15- 16/ 21- 23 @ 13:00 – Tickets €8 (kids)/ €12 (adults)/ €35 for 4 (kids & at least 1 adult)
Duration 60 mins – Venue: Abbey Theatre on the Peacock Stage
Photo: Paul Livingstone
It must be said that I am not accustomed to going to the theatre at 1 pm in the afternoon, however this is after all the fringe and the piece in question, marketed at children aged 6-10: Birdy, by Eccles theatre company is being shown on The Peacock stage from the 15-16th and again from the 21st-23rd of September.
Apparently, children are also not used to going to theatre at this time as there was no one in the audience below an age of approximately 23. Perhaps this is more of an issue around introducing young people to culture at an earlier stage than of timing, however I digress. Whatever the reason, I believe it to be a sign of genuinely good theatre when an adult audience departed just as entertained as the target audience presumably would have been. Birdy is a dynamic, colourful and exciting example of what can be created from a small cast, limited set (Two cut-out trees and several wooden boxes) and unbounded creativity. The versatile actors, comprising of Roseanna Purcell (also known for her one woman show Test Copy), James Murphy, Finbarr Doyle and Ciara Ivie embody multiple characters throughout the show; including a Jazz fusion fox, Techno turtle, a sack of spuds with a singing voice like Tom Waits and a hapless chicken, among others. Centering the action was the heroine ‘Birdy’, played by Ciara Ivie, on her mission to bring back music to her home town, controlled by the wicked ‘President Liz’; a particularly uninspired dictator who detests anything musical. Ironically, excellent musical accompaniment and design was provided throughout the show by Dylan Tonge Jones. With all costume and set changes occurring on stage and choreographed by the actors themselves, the result is a very fast paced and intimate piece of theatre, where the audience are privy to all yet attention is held and disbelief suspended. Masks and puppetry are also incorporated to excellent advantage, allowing for the creation of multiple extra characters.
Despite what may be a rather silly and far-fetched story (it was, after all, created with children in mind) the genuinely witty writing combined with the natural comedy of the actors creates a piece that can be enjoyed by all. If you feel in the mood for lots of laughter and reverting to your inner-child for one hour (who doesn’t?), then Birdy is a must see.
Jane Madden and Ross Gaynor (with additional material from the cast): Creators
Davey Kelleher: Director
Nicola Zeidler and Robert Nolan: Production Design
Mary Sheehan: Costume Design
Dylan Tonge Jones: Sound Design
Eoin Lennon: Lighting Design
Bryan Burroughs: Movement Assisted
Finbarr Doyle: Cast
Ciara Ivie: Cast
James Murphy: Cast
Roseanna Purcell: Cast
Yvonne Ussher: Co-producer