The Cagebirds
  • By Tom King
  • |
  • 13th Aug 2011
  • |
  • ★★★★

We all live our lives within walls. Some trap and ensnare us: the job that saps our confidence or the friend who’s always bad news. Others protect us and give us a place to call home: the lover who makes us strive to be the best we can be or the family who support us and care for us. The trick of living is to see the difference between a shelter and a cage.It’s no easy feat and it’s something that’s nigh-on impossible without a little perspective. And sometimes that cold dose of reality can be difficult to handle. This is the tale that The Cagebirds tells. Set in an aviary, each of the original actors portrays a different bird with its little tics: the hyperchondriac Medicated Gloom, the tattling Long-Tongued Gossip or the preening Mirror-Eyed Gazer. Despite all living in the same space, they occupy their own little worlds, essentially oblivious to each other. Until the arrival of The Wild One.She is a new bird, fresh-captured from the outside world and still with the ferocious spirit which characterises a truly free creature. She arrives with a defiant snarl and immediately tries to unite and incite the other captives so that they can all escape together. But can the memory of freedom ever compete with the reality of security?A play with this simple a premise is dependent on the quality of its performances, but each of these is well-observed and nuanced. Lindsey Henderson as the nervous sparrow-like Constant Twitting is of particular note, with a twitchy physicality superbly reminiscent of a tiny songbird. However, every performer makes their part a living, breathing individual, meaning that the moments when the Cagebirds start to come together as a group are particularly powerful.The Cagebirds is one of those simple, stripped-down plays which, while perfectly suited to the Fringe, can be easily lost amongst a weight of similar work. Here though, the Liverpool University Drama Society have distinguished themselves with a confident and professional production. Impressive stuff.

Reviews by Tom King

Summerhall

A Fortunate Man

★★★
Underbelly, Cowgate

The Cat's Mother

★★★
The Stand Comedy Club 3 & 4

Phill Jupitus: Sassy Knack

★★★★
Traverse Theatre

Nigel Slater’s Toast

★★★
CanadaHub @ King's Hall in association with Summerhall

Famous Puppet Death Scenes

★★★★
Assembly George Square Gardens

Jess Robinson: No Filter

★★★★

The Blurb

The Cagebirds were happy ignoring each other, until The Wild One came. The Wild One has a lot to say, but the Cagebirds aren't listening. This play is about whether freedom is being outside a cage or inside.