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Edinburgh Fringe 2019

Parakeet

Boundless Theatre and Boom Shakalaka Productions

Genre: Feminist Theatre, Fringe Theatre, Immersive, LBGT Theatre, LGBT, Live Music, Theatre

Venue: Summerhall Paines Plough Roundabout

Festival:


Low Down

Set in Margate, an isolated teenager forms a band and finds her voice with the help of a gang of exotic birds. A new musical about finding your flock and ruffling feathers. Written by Brigitte Aphrodite with music by Quiet Boy, both on stage through dressed as Parakeets, this fresh, raw piece of gig theatre hits you right between the eyes. Shining a light on the people who are being forgotten and getting caught in cracks for it’s these people who have something very important to say. They’ve not been listened too for so long they’re going to say it LOUD. Empathy is the new punk, we’re living in a new world, you just might not realise it yet.

Review

We are welcomed into the Paines Plough Roundabout by a beaming Bridgette Aphrodite, dressed in neon green, allowing us to take our seats in this safe space. We are handed makeup pens and informed we could, if the mood took us, write affirmations, thoughts, messages or feelings on ourselves for ourselves or other people. This wasn’t going to be like any other fringe show. What came next was an explosion of colour, sound and hope. Bridgette had informed us on arrival that Boundless Theatre works with young people and they believe that they have a very powerful, relevant voice that needs to be listened to and if do, it might just change the world. 

Set in Margate, Kent, a sea-side town once a holiday hotspot and now as overlooked as these young people’s voices. It does not seem like an accident they have been married together for this story. Written by Bridgette Aphrodite and scored by Quiet Boy who reside in Margate it seems they can see first hand what a decline in the economy and public funding can do for the more under-privaliged areas of the country.

Once the piece gets underway Bridgette and Quiet Boy take a back seat and allow the protagonists of tale take centre stage. 

Michelle Tiwo, Lula Mebrahtu and Isabel Oliver play three girls trapped and isolated for different reasons. Whether it they be a newly arriving from London with their Mum’s new boyfriend getting in the way, not being in control of their feelings or volume or being an immigrant in a foster family with pending paperwork hanging over them like a death penalty. These young women are dealing with things way over their emotional paygrade. Luckily they find each other and find their voices through music to lash out against the injustices of the world both personal and environmental. Saving the Parakeets of Thanet and trying to stop the tree where they’re nesting from being chopped down becomes top priority. A lovely comparison is drawn about Parakeets being ‘invaders’ from a different country, attacking the ‘native’ birds and ‘stealing’ their food, all too chilling in a county where Nigel Farage used to be in power.

This play is important for everyone to watch whatever colour, age or gender. Part spoken work, part gig theatre these inspiring performances are full of life, energy, youth and optimism. The only shame for me is that the trio held instruments for extended periods on stage but didn’t seem comfortable with them and lacked skill playing them. I understand we’re drawing comparisons with the birth of Punk when musical ability was secondary to the message but personally I would have liked them to have been slightly more accomplished. There was also a slight problem with mic levels and vocals not being clear; however the song Brum Brum car was a highlight.

Lastly the duet between Brigette and Quiet boy being the Parakeets leaving the tree is an absolute treat. You left feeling accepted, inspired and itching for social change.

Published