When your immediate post-show notes resemble an Alan Ginsberg beat poem you know you’ve seen a show: I saw the best minds of my generation transformed into seagulls, starving, hilarious, preening, dragging themselves through the audience looking for an angry chip…
What is Birdoir? A cabaret? Sure, in places. But, then there’s parody, burlesque, games, comedy, politics, storytelling, and the biggest, bloody hot chip you’ve even seen in your life. Birdoir stitches these pieces together into a magnificent avian Frankenstein’s Monster of a show.
Clara Jaspere and Elija Montgomery’s costume designs were glorious confections of coloured feathers, wings, and headpieces. Along with Jacinta Anderson’s sound design, the Theatre Works stage was transformed into a resplendent aviary.
The cast – Six Inches Uncut, Ira Luxuria, Mahla Bird, Leon Andon, Kathryn Kaehler and Sal Frances – were all spell-binding and marvellous. They played a beautifully grotesque colony of vultures, peacocks, seagulls, and other birds and vagrants who find themselves with a raft of pennaceous, nocturnal business to conduct.
Years ago, one of my drama tutors advised me to “Never give the audience what they expect.” And this sentiment is certainly present here: We shift from mad hermit screeches to gentle live singing, from spoken laments to the modern age to turkey baste money shots, from apocalyptic intensity to Duck Duck Goose.
Yet, none of it feels jarring as the cast whiffle, forage, and occasionally groom through the transitions. As one-hour wonders go, Birdoir is one of the ‘gooduns’. Don’t miss out on this ornithological masterpiece!
Theatre Works, 14 Acland Street, St Kilda
Performance: Wednesday 29 January 2020 – 9.30pm
Season continues to 1 January 2020
Information and Bookings: www.theatreworks.org.au
Image: Birdoir – photo by Teddy Darling
Review: David Collins