In association with Dublin Fringe Festival and Collapsing Horse, Eccles Theatre Group presents Birdy as part of as part of Young Radicals: Fringe for Kids on the Peacock Stage at the Abbey Theatre. Created by Jane Madden and Ross Gaynor, and with direction by Davey Kelleher, Birdy follows the titular optimist on her quest to legalise music, an activity now prohibited by the villainous dictator, President Liz. Joining Birdy in her resistance mission are a cast of loveable characters, including a jazz fusion fox, a cowardly chicken, Electric Eddie and a techno loving tortoise from Dublin.
Birdy is an uplifting and humorous musical journey for the young, and the young at heart. At the core of the story is an empowering message about friendship and teamwork, delivered through puppetry, physical comedy, song and dance. The play is summarised by Birdy in her mission statement, she is on a quest for “righteousness, beauty, and banging tunes”. Even in the face of the monstrous President Liz, and her goon Sack of Potatoes, Birdy amplifies the message that great things come in small packages. Birdy, though just a young girl, emerges as an enduring heroine, and a resolute role model for the play’s target audience.
Ultimately, Birdy is good craic for children and adults alike. The production’s music echoes the positivity of Birdy, while the bright costumes and design will keep young audience members engaged. Birdy’s strongest suit however, is its upbeat humour throughout. Eccles Theatre Group refuse to condescend to their younger audience members, but create a witty and refreshing take on the world from a child’s eye. There is something for everyone in this piece. Adults will find the physical comedy, caricatures and one-liners equally charming.
Bring your little ones to Birdy on the Peacock Stage at the Abbey until September 16th. Family rates available.
By Sarah McKenna Barry