Sherman Cymru are back again with another haunting and brave take on the lives of those who are swept under the carpet of society on a daily basis. Written by Kath Chandler, Bird has been brought to life under Rachel O’Riordan’s direction and has taken over the studio at the Sherman in a fast paced, punch in the gut fashion.
Ava is a prime example of someone who has been chewed up and spat out by the care system, but now she’s nearly 16, a decision needs to be made about her future. In a series of quick fire, disengaged conversations, Ava’s tale comes to life as she discovers the vodka filled, nights in the park, dancing other world outside of the care home. Played by Georgia Henshaw, Ava has an eratic energy and a sincerely, watchable quality from her first words and it is soon clear that her wish of returning to the family home may not be as straight forward as she thinks.
As she veers off course and tries to spread her wings with her moral compass of best friend Tash who loves the rush of the wind on her face as she strays too close to the edge, the audience join her in her plight to belong. Whether it’s her interactions with Dan (who was just passing, y’know) or her attempts to reform her relationship with her stand off-ish Mother after being separated for three years – Ava’s tale is a brave and touching one which covers love, loss and grief, and leads the audience hopeful. Some of the more beautiful moments were the pauses in the backchat, allowing the audience to connect as the studio stayed silent with the characters and the story began to evolve.
In a similar fashion to the hugely successful Iphigenia in Splott, Bird is brilliantly staged. The deep bass of the sound design links back to reality and the stark but beautiful lighting (especially as the light bulbs rustle and the birds take flight) really brings alive the script. Although there may have been a slight overdose of the repeated bird references, the writing and direction is wonderfully haunting leaving plenty to think about.
A brave, fast-paced rollercoaster performance from a stellar cast, with especially brilliant casting of Georgia Henshaw as Ava: Bird is a brave, spirited production with a lot of heart against an uncaring system.
Bird continues at the Sherman Theatre until the 28th May, when it will transfer to the Royal Exchange in Manchester. Follow @shermancymru for more updates.