Birdland by Simon Stephens and Erasmus Productions at the SpaceTriplex

This was high octane stuff from start to finish. Performed at the SpaceTriplex studio space, this young group of actors, from Erasmus Productions, really got to grips with Simon Stephens’ explosive play. Simon is artistic associate at the Lyric Hammersmith and, as well as writing his own plays, adapted ‘The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nigh-Time’ for the National Theatre. This play of his, though, really packed a punch!

Focusing on the tale of rockstar Paul, the story follows his descent as he struggles to avoid alienating his friends and others as he deals with his massive fame and wealth. As best friend Johnny alludes to it, his ability to mess up other peoples’ lives is his biggest problem. Paul’s fascination with money and its ability to determine everything in life, from the way you love, to what you eat, makes the reality that he eventually ends up with nothing, the more significant.

Simply staged in a smashed-up mirror square, the simple use of high energy music in between scenes with Paul rocking out, kept the tempo of this play where it needed to be. Oliver Skan as the lead role, was terrific, capturing the wildness of a rockstar and the anger during his descent. However, the whole cast was terrific in bringing the humour and tragedy of this piece to life. Fantastic version of Simon Stephens’ powerful play. Get down to the SpaceTriplex and see this play!

Highlight of the show – Johnny’s breakdown after Paul’s revelation to him. Powerful stuff!

4/5 WIGS


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