Roger (Greg Birks) isn’t like other people, and when all the birds start to disappear from outside his flat in Waterloo, he starts to panic. Where have they all gone? Are they coming for him? Georgia Green’s
Green’s writing is mature and offers an important view into the lives of the mentally ill and how the country is ill-equipped to deal with their needs.
Birks gives a wholly professional performance - playing Roger, whose undisclosed mental state keeps him housebound and visited daily by carers, his portrayal is sensitive and understated, fitting perfectly in the small space. He’s constantly on edge, with eyes full of worry, but despite his unstable nature, Birks makes him endearing - so even when he lashes out, it’s still easy to sympathise with him. Every aspect of Birks’ performance is perfectly calculated, his strained posture and tiny, shaking hand movements drawing the audience in.
Unfortunately for the supporting cast members, Birks sets the bar at a dizzying height. Paradise (Nancy Ofori) and Dave (Marcus Tischhauser) both live in Roger’s flat (or, in reality, in the deep recesses of his mind), hidden from his carers. Neither actor manages to match Birks in naturalism, although potentially this is a deliberate move to indicate that their characters only exist to Roger. Regardless, their scenes feel a little flat, and draw the audience back out of the spell cast by Birks.
The set and costumes are to be commended, and the stop-motion projection sequence in the final moments of the play could have been emotive if it hadn’t been limited to a laughably small projection, again breaking the spell of the play as well as not allowing the impressive artwork to be shown to its full potential.
Green’s writing is mature and offers an important view into the lives of the mentally ill and how the country is ill-equipped to deal with their needs - the sense of hopelessness that hangs over the piece will take you a while to shake off.