Review: THE WORLD WITHOUT BIRDS Finds Honour in the Classics

Fables are often forgotten in today’s adult modern world.  But the lessons they offer in their storytelling are invaluable to everyday life.  Writer, Christine Croyden has embraced the classic form of fable and musical theatre in her latest brilliant production THE WORLD WITHOUT BIRDS: A Musical Fable gently reminding its audience how relevant classics remain in our daily lives. 

So as not to give away the cathartic message this particular fable tells, I would rather tell you more about the highlights you can expect from this delightful performance.  Under the direction of Elizabeth Walley a small ensemble of four actors delight the La Mama Courthouse stage playing multiple stock characters in the form of bird species.  Each bird portrays stereotypes like young and naive, old and wise, cunning and territorial or ignorant and cruel.  The audience can relate to these characters either because we see ourselves in them or have encountered such traits throughout our journey.

Playing the “Queen of the Birds,” Margot Knight eloquently captures the paralleling traits of a delicate bird and the delicate inner life of an older woman.  She dances with such emotional delicacy throughout the story finding balance between protecting her own vulnerabilities and standing up defending her personal value.

As a musical, while vocal abilities from cast members vary, it is smart to feature the supporting talent of Charlotte Fox who plays the young princess bird.  Her voice radiates and envelops the courthouse space.  Original music writer, Ella Filar has cleverly given Fox the ability to crescendo into an operatic tonality heightening the plays climax.

What’s truly appealing about this production is Croyden’s writing.  It has a sophisticated ability to honour classic fable storytelling full of poetic imagery that concludes with a cathartic lesson with that of contemporary events.  It is equally delightful to hear the multiple play-of-words throughout the production to birds: ‘birds of a feather,’ ‘bird brain,’ ‘fluff my feathers.’ 

Also appealing is the accompaniment from the 3-piece live band.  The music glues the production together as it plays music that refers to the fluttering lifestyle of birds.  The baseline reminds me of baroque style classical music, which I believe sheds light on the classical and sophisticated style found in Croyden’s writing.

THE WORLD WITHOUT BIRDS: A Musical Fable is playing now at La Mama Courthouse Theatre until November 6th.  To purchase tickets, CLICK HERE

Review: POINT 8 SIX is on Point

Satirical. Metaphorical. Poignant. These characteristics blatantly sum up the main themes presented in POINT 8 SIX, playing at La Mama Theatre in Carlton. Most thrilling about this production is the opportunity to allow yourself to simply be entertained and delight in the brilliant performances on stage.

POINT 8 SIX is an absurdist farce set inside an experimental laboratory in the year 2142, where a passionate scientist conducts his latest research and development in human space and time travel. He operates his experiments by the use of robots… or maybe these characters were once humans who have been micro-chipped or re-programmed into computers… as each specimen travels back and forth in time and space to reveal how they connect to one another…or don’t connect to one another. To be quite honest, the character connections are revealed so quickly and through such complex plotting that I can only remember generalised details about each character: one characters serves as the rebellious instigator, another is the precious one whom is to be protected by everyone else, a German character is thrown into the mix, and an innocent buffoon unsuccessfully tries to keep it all together.

Sounds complex, right? Well, it is! Purposefully. Breaking the fourth wall, one of the characters asks the audience if they are confused. Answering yes would mean they are in sync with the story because even the characters are confused as to what is actually going on. Regardless, I believe the point of this production is to stick with the show and give into the world of imagination. Once I let go of trying to piece the plot together I was able to thoroughly enjoy the performance.

Two reasons to go see this delightful production is to 1.) fall in love with the characters; and 2.) lose yourself to a chaotic imaginative story. There are plenty of opportunities to laugh, love and think about the possible “what ifs” throughout this production; it’s a show suitable for everyone’s liking (minus children because of course language and complex issues). Under the direction of Kirsten von Bibra, the cast of six VCA graduates (Amy Jones, Brianagh Curran, Matt Furlani, Wim Wotherspoon, Adam Cass and Yvette de Ravin Turner) this creative team puts on a most entertaining show. I am most eager to follow the career paths of these talented actors, writers and director.

POINT 8 SIX closes this weekend, running until 21st February at La Mama Theatre in Carlton with performances on at 6:30PM Wednesday, 7:30Pm on Thursday, Friday, Saturday and 4PM on Sunday. Do yourself a favour and RUN to see this show!

For tickets and more information about POINT 8 SIX, please visit http://www.lamamatheatre.com.au.