Birdhouse

Taking the story of four elderly women who have been entangled in a freak attack by a murder of crows and take refuge in the Coronet Cinema this is a strange, intriguing and entertaining piece of theatre. Using puppetry, physical theatre, music and song, this show, devised and performed by Jammy Voo, has some fantastic ideas which enchant throughout.

From the outset the four female performers use their honed clowning abilities to ensure their comically awkward physicality remains consistent throughout. This regiment of movements and actions makes the characters believable and enthralling to watch. The performers also prove themselves musically, as the show uses a number of folk and blues-infused songs to accent the performances. This gives the whole production a great element of fun, every one of the catchy songs being performed with enormous energy.

There are a variety of moments in the play which are extremely effective in their use of unusual set pieces, props and interesting and original movement ideas. One such moment is the use of shadow puppetry to create the illusion of a 1930s moving film backdrop to an accelerating car. This is one magical moment of the show which really needs to be seen to be believed, executed with enthralling precision. As the show becomes more and more bizarre we see the characters befriending a group of birds, the puppets of which are operated with incredible skill by the performers, creating genuinely touching moments with the assembled avian creatures.

While there are some brilliant moments, what this show was lacking was a coherent story line. While being set-up well, the narrative has given way to the numerous physical scenes. The incredibly original theatrical ideas and devices often get lost as they are not framed within a narrative, which means that towards the end of the show the audience cannot reattach to a story, somewhat alienating them from the characters. Despite this, the deft theatricality and expert clowning physicality of the show makes it one of the most interesting and original at the Fringe.

Reviews by Andy Smith

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Performances

The Blurb

Meet four survivors of the infamous attack from Hitchcock's The Birds. Surreal comedy horror from the ‘joyously anarchic' (Venue Magazine) Jammy Voo. Featuring puppetry, arresting visuals and live music. ‘Fizzes with inventiveness' **** (ExeuntMagazine.com). Supported by: Jacksons Lane, Beaford Arts.