Does the price of fame always bring celebrities down? No, but in some case it can destroy their careers and end their lives as they know them. Birdland, written by Simon Stephens, is all a bit dark and depressing. The 1¾-hour performance, without interval, is a challenge for the audience in a number of ways.
First, the play itself: not the strongest I have ever seen, a bit predicable and fully of clichés that do not really make the time fly by. I found myself looking at my watch, hoping that time had passed more quickly than it had. It is also highly annoying when swear words are just repeated and repeated in a play without moving the story along.
The production, directed by Rob McGough, is laboured and does not really connect the audience with the story. The simple set and props are effective and the space is used well to create different scenes and different atmospheres, but the style of acting created is stylised and at times really over the top; while I understand that the play lends itself to this, it is, in the main, not based in any reality.
Having said that, there is a nice performance from Joseph Hand, making his debut for Y2 Theatre and playing the Father, in a lovely scene that is well done and has a great atmosphere to it. There are also good performances from Emma Marshall and Becky Mills, who play various different roles – which is not easy – very well.
Special mention to the lighting and effects, which are seamless and do help the overall flow of the play. There is another performance on 6 April at 8.00