Theatre Review: Birdland

(Note: This is not my review. My good friend Christine wrote this review after seeing the play twice, and from what she has said I don’t blame her for going again! I wish I had the chance to!)

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Birdland, a play by award winning writer Simon Stephens, continues its run at the Royal Court Theatre until the end of the month.

It stars Andrew Scott, who recently starred in hit BBC show Sherlock, as Paul, a rock star on the final leg of his world tour.

Paul can have whatever he wants whenever he wants. And he wants it all right now.   He also believes that all worth, human and artistic worth, can be quantified by a monetary value.

Inevitably, that sort of attitude has consequences.

From the very first lines of dialogue between Paul and his bandmate Johnny the audience is engaged and immediately absorbed into the drama by Stephens’ superb writing.

The pace is fast yet very easy to follow and the lack of interval for the two hour duration ensures that the momentum is kept up throughout.

Scott is aptly charismatic in his portrayal of the narcissistic superstar whilst all five of his fellow cast members also give completely flawless performances.

The clever script is full of funny exchanges but never strays into being light hearted.  There is always an underlying darkness to the drama that unfolds on stage that keeps the audience intrigued until the very end.

Indeed, there are one or two moments where the whimsical quickly turns into the unsettling and Scott does an excellent job of making this happen.

The play is directed by Carrie Cracknell who brings the script to life in a satisfying way as well as doing a marvellous job of really utilising the talents of the actors.

By keeping all the actors on stage the whole time the flow of the drama was kept without any awkward scene changes.

It is never clear, until right at the end whether our protagonist feels any remorse for his actions but interestingly one still feels a bit sorry for him at intermittent points.

From the start, Birdland draws the audience in. The exceptional script and the outstanding acting from the cast make this compelling play one not to be missed.

by Christine Dorisamy-Pillai

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