In a bizarre but glorious amalgamation of all things good, Parakeet stands as a protest piece that calls for greater measures against climate change and, well, a commitment towards a deep held obsession with parakeets.
A bizarre but glorious amalgamation of all things good
The green-haired and brilliant Brigitte Aphrodite introduces us to the show (reminding us that she is a parakeet), inviting us to write something we want to affect in bold letters on our skin in a literal embodiment of the change we want to see. Quiet Boy (another parakeet) sits by her side, surrounded by a small menagerie of instruments. With spoken word, dialogue and protest music, one thing is certain: the Parakeets will be heard.
We meet our protagonist, Girl, in Margate – a disillusioned young teenager stuck as a cog in the huge and seemingly meaningless system of life. She can just about tolerate the brutish incompetency of her dishevelled stepfather, but when the local authorities decide to cut down the tree that marks the home of the Parakeets of Thanet, it becomes too much and brings an end to her complacency. Together with Dust and Tam – two teenagers from the local area – Girl creates a band whose music marks a triumphant and deafening protest against injustice. They are The Parakeets, and they’re changing the world, one song at a time.
Boundless Theatre’s youth-focussed ethos gives a feel of authenticity to the narrative, creating a politically-charged and proud piece of gig theatre. What could easily become hyperbolic is instead a modest and unpretentious call to arms. If 16 year olds can have sex and join the army, why can’t they vote for the policies dictating their individual freedoms? However, aside from the concept there is little in the way of thematic undertone bringing the storyline together. Whilst the parakeets may stand as a metaphor for greater things: the environment flock mentality, finding your voice; the production feels somewhat segmented.
With standout musical performances and its heart in the right place, Parakeet makes for an inspirational, if a little contrived, call to change in the neighbourhoods we call home.