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Lightbox Theatre’s The Blue Bird – Review

The Blue BirdIt made me feel happy and magical. This is one of the children’s comments written on the audience feedback board after the show, very nicely summing up the general feeling of this uplifting play in one, short sentence.

Lightbox Theatre Company have developed the classic children’s play of The Blue Bird by Maurice Maeterlinck into a show that is suitable for the whole family.

Performed in the round, this is an intimate performance that captures the magic of Tyltyl’s journey nicely. There are a great deal of props used throughout, some of them in rather ingenious ways.

Three out of the four performers multi-role to cover over five other characters in the story. Items of clothing, accents and specific postures are used to make it clear which character they represent. It was effective, with the young audience getting excited when they realised certain characters had returned, “Look it’s the cat!”

It struck as odd that the audience was not acknowledged until over halfway into the play; perhaps a decision to include from the start or not at all wouldn’t go amiss. However the direction by The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime‘s Anna Marsland was specific and well thought out.

The actors, Ashley Alymann, David Fairs, Siu-see Hung and Jenni MacKenzie-Jones all gave good committed performances, although each had their moments or character that appeared more comfortable than others. There were a few mix-ups with lines, but overall the projection and vocal work was suitably strong for an in the round performance.

The lighting and sound was used effectively and helped create the different places the characters visit on their quest. A few scenes were more memorable than others, including the visit to the grandparents – comedy timing and caricatures spot on. Also the Land of the Unborn Children – sounds rather unsettling but included balloon puppetry which was very charming to see.

Overall, this play was full of hope and magic. It is a good lesson for both children and adults alike in making the most of what you have been given, and making time for the people you love.

3 Star Review

Review by H Hemming

Have you the grass that sings or the bird that is blue?
One wintery evening Tyltyl wakes to find a hump-back figure in his bedroom. She is obviously a fairy. Tyltyl must find the bluebird that makes people happy. And he must do so before morning. Tyltyl doesn’t know about bluebirds, or where he might find one but joined by his faithful cat and dog the search begins…

Lightbox Theatre presents a 60-minute adaptation of Maurice Maeterlinck’s classic fairy-tale The Blue Bird about a child’s search through various magical worlds to find the elusive blue bird of happiness.

Directed by Anna Marsland (resident director of Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time) this is a visually charming and magical family show about seeing the extraordinary in our everyday. The first London production in over 50 years, our revival of The Blue Bird will have a limited run of just six performances in January/February 2017. Opening at the New Wimbledon Studio on Sat 28th January, the show will also be performed at The Albany Deptford on Sat 11th February and Putney Arts Theatre on Mon 13th February ahead of a regional tour in late 2017.

Rediscovered and adapted by Lightbox Theatre, The Blue Bird is another of Lightbox’s acclaimed productions of overlooked works, following the success of previous rediscoveries including Over the Bridge by Sam Thompson at the Finborough Theatre (2013) and Countdown by Alan Ayckbourn at St James Theatre (2016).

http://lightboxtheatre.co.uk/

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