BrainFools in association with Underbelly
Underbelly's Circus Hub on the Meadows
This is a curiosity of a piece. The narrative involves a young person, Sam, who seems to want to play football, but has been told not to kick the ball until everyone is ready. Then comes a blowing of the whistle, a game that was almost played, friends who don’t seem to want to play with Sam before Sam graduates to employment. It is not long before Sam is sacked and they end up out on the street, being befriended by pigeons.
It then becomes a play about how Sam manages to find some contentment with the pigeons who appear to be an able, acrobatic lot. It all begins before the show starts as Sam welcomes us all, drawing us into their world. This includes getting one young audience member—this time round Oscar—to run onstage whenever called. As a piece of theatricality, it was an amusing interlude in amongst the tricks and tumbles that came before and after each calling by Sam.
Whilst the narrative could be claimed to be a little tough to quite follow, there is little doubt about its theatricality. The puppetry, which saw one pigeon fly out and introduce themselves as the kind of creature who can be a little cheeky, a touch endearing and certainly likely to be friendly but with an edge, worked well. This drama queen got us used to the idea of a personality with wings before the puppets were ditched and out came the cast. Costume was spot on and in keeping with the overall nature of the surrealism of the piece. It was well imagined and delivered.
And here, the desire to explore a form of social issue that it delivered with a level of curiosity which, for me was its greatest charm. I was unsure of what the overall message was—about friendship, perhaps even loneliness and the joy of having connections with something—but it made for an engaging piece of theatre. The acrobatics were good, if not likely to be described as spectacular, whilst it tried hard to keep to a narrative and substance rather than depend upon spectacle. I could have done less with the whole issue about the box with no bottom, but it heralded some more juggling and acrobatic-style comedy that kept our interest. In essence, there was a plot and it kept us rooting for Sam.
As for the event as a piece of theatre within a tent, at a Festival, this had enough about it to suggest that, whilst this may be a maiden voyage to our shores, this company should be encouraged to return.
Reviewer: Donald C Stewart