From 17 August 2015 to 22 August 2015
Review by Graeme Strachan
Birdland by Simon Stephens is the intricate but predictable story about a pop star, wealthy beyond his means, who becomes the architect of his own destruction, through his excesses and by essentially being an utter moron.
For a show that proudly touts itself as 'an amateur production' on the advertising, it's a surprisingly capable and well performed show. As such, the amateur monicker is something of a disservice to the actors and crew, as I've seen far worse from supposedly professional companies.
It's a well acted performance, interspersed with snippets of famous rock songs with lyrics that correspond loosely to the events transpiring.
The solid work is somewhat undercut by the predictable plot and the utter unlikability of the lead character Paul as he abuses his friends, acts out and sleeps his way around a bevvy of attractive young fans.
It's hard to see if any deeper meaning exists to this play beyond, as a rich fool is still a fool. Stephens's exploration of a pop star destroying himself through his own idiocy is mildly entertaining, but nothing that happens beyond the suicide of bandmate's girlfriend Marnie comes as a surprise, and the death itself and the reactions to it feel glossed over in favour of interminable scenes of him acting out, "being a cock" and growing increasingly more irritating and self obsessed.
Ultimately, it's a play that will distract, but you'll walk away feeling no more enriched than when you entered the theatre.