Bluebird

Bluebird is the story of Jimmy, a London taxi driver the various people – ‘fares’ – he meets. Each of the following duologues showcases a life in crisis, someone at the end of their tether, all the while highlighting the bleakness of modern urban life. Somehow, amidst all the hopelessness and nihilism there is a fluttering of hope, exemplified by the quiet charm of Jimmy himself. His own story is the most tragic of all, but somehow he has escaped from it, forging his own nomadic lifestyle in the midst of a sleepless city. There is something almost enviable about his life, even though he fell into it out of cowardice and shame. Scenes with his estranged wife are particularly charming – despite what they have been through, despite what Jimmy has done and their time apart, there is still something left between them.The cast play the roles well, though the quality of the writing varies quite strongly between scenes. Gary Jenkins was especially impressive as Jimmy, speaking with an easy charisma that quickly wins over the audience.The staging and set of Squint’s production is rather unusual. Jimmy is seated upon what can only be described as a throne made of car parts while his fares sit on separate seats arrayed around the stage. This leads to fairly intimate conversations taking place at opposite sides of the stage, which is somewhat odd, but works well enough. Despite the simplicity of the play’s requirements for set, there are regular scene changes, all punctuated with throbbing bass, flashing lights and dynamic choreography. Bouncers throw drunks, and shoppers and streetwalkers bustle across the stage. Again, while it feeds into the urbanity of the play, it seems at odds with the tenderness that undercuts all the grittiness. Still, in spite of these odd and somewhat gimmicky staging decisions, the strength of the script and the performances make Bluebird a real standout play.

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The Blurb

'Bluebird' follows London mini-cab driver Jimmy over the course of one night as he picks up a variety of fares. As each passenger's secrets unravel, Jimmy confronts his own demons. ‘The vibrant cast are dazzling’ ***** (Oxford Review).

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