Brighton Fringe 2008
Side by Side Theatre
Venue: Dorset Gardens Methodist Church, 23rd-24th May
Festival: Brighton Fringe
Excitement is building, a NEW BIRD is being born, but, ‘shock horror’, he’s not what he should be. A new dance/drama by award-winning, learning-disabled actors from Stourbridge.
In the course of the Brighton Fringe you see theatre in so many different forms from sketch-comedy to experimental dance. Side by Side Theatre Company do something quite unique. In The Bird they use theatre to produce a sense of community, inclusivity and fun, elements which are sadly found to be in short supply in other productions in festival.
With a gifted company of learning disabled actors, dance and a range of dazzling costumes are used to tell the story of The Bird , who when born, finds that he doesn’t look like any of the other members of the bird kingdom. The play then depicts his difficult journey toward both accepting himself and being accepted by the other birds.
Part fairy-tale and part fable, given a contemporary twist, this story combined poignant moments with others of real humour. The show was performed with commitment by the company, but more importantly a sense of enjoyment, which was so readily communicated to the audience. A particularly delightful sequence that impressed this reviewer was the ‘bird fashion show’ that showed great imagination.
This company of actors demonstrate such an important aspect of the spirit of the Fringe Festival, but aside from this and I think more importantly, they have produced a really enjoyable and colourful hour of theatre.