Anni Dafydd emerges onto the stage wearing layers of mismatched technicolour clothes. The patchwork outfit perfectly describes her show: offbeat, muddled but oddly endearing.
The patchwork outfit perfectly describes her show: offbeat, muddled but oddly endearing.
Why is Life Like Sparrows? takes the form of a gently surreal sketch show. There’s no narrative thread to be found here, but all the vignettes are linked by a pervasive sense of oddness. The opening sketch sets the tone: Dafydd plays a piano while singing impossible or absurd questions: “Why can’t I lick my elbow?”; the eponymous “Why is life like sparrows” before cracking and just belting “Why?” The song is brief, sung well and never returned to, a model that applies to most of what Dafydd offers. Her sketches are short and performed vigorously and well. But, with the exception a projected piece about dissection, the ideas are left hanging.
There are some great moments amidst the weirdness. These mostly take the form of colloquial Welsh conversations, in which, for example, Iraq is brilliantly confused with Tonypandy. There’s nothing uproariously funny here, but Dafydd’s enthusiasm is infectious. It helps that the pace is high throughout and the piece doesn’t outstay its welcome. Although some sketches last mere seconds and could very easily be lost amidst the sweep of the longer pieces, there’s nothing that feels out of place.
The more surreal moments are of a more acquired taste and all too often the concept isn’t strong enough to make up for the lack of punchline. Two women shovelling sprouts into their mouths is faintly disgusting, but that’s not really enough.
Ultimately, Why is Life Like Sparrows? is as its title suggests: curious, fun and just a little bit pointless.