Too often feels like a nursery rhyme directed by Guy Ritchie
There's no denying that the performers all do a very good job of breathing life into the diverse cast of characters they are given (a particular stand-out is Amber L. Jacobs who has the plays most affecting monologue listing various sordid sexual encounters, with varying degrees of consent, her character has experienced) but unfortunately the characters still never feel like more than stereotypes, like characters in a gangsters movie from the early aughts.
The piece is devised from a poem by Brownlee and is all in verse. A lyrical, poetic exploration of a bad man's path to (sort-of) redemption sounds like a fresh, interesting way to approach this well worn subject matter but with its dated references and often simplistic rhymes, Today I Killed My Very First Bird too often feels like a nursery rhyme directed by Guy Ritchie. But hey, maybe that's your thing!
The decision to keep the text in verse also serves to create a distance between the play and the audience. It's hard to connect with characters and their very real struggles when the way they tell us about them feels so disconnected to reality. Which is a shame because there are some good performances and interesting characters to be found here.
The simple staging serves its Fringe constraints well: the performers sit at a long table, with drugs and money strewn about and five lamps in front of each performer that they turn on and off when needed like mini-spotlights. At times very effective, the staging does however start to grate as the play goes on and mostly serves to turn the spotlight on the text itself which doesn't really stand up to the harsh light.