Theatre Review: BIRD – Royal Exchange, Manchester

BIRD at Royal Exchange Theatre

BIRD is an extremely bold play with excellent cast performances

BIRD, the winner of a Judges award in the 2013 Bruntwood Prize for playwriting, premiered at Manchester’s Royal Exchange Theatre last night. Welsh writer Katherine Chandler brings us the story of Ava and Tash, two best friends fighting their way through the care system with only each other as support.

Ava (Georgia Henshaw), about to turn sixteen on the cusp of adulthood and about to become homeless, after three years of seperation she pleads desperately to go back home to her Mother (Siwan Morris) only to be told that she isn’t wanted and refusing to accept her into her ‘new family’. Urgently craving someone to need her she meets Dan (Connor Allen), a 17 year old boy in the park who wants what all 17 year old boys want, and a broken and needy Ava gives him exactly that.

Tash (Rosie Sheehy) is her support, it’s the two of them against the world, cliff top dancing their way through the pain. Both girls living dangerously, surrounded by men who have alterior motives for befriending them, the manipulative cabbie Lee played by Guy Rhys shows just how the grooming process works, his initial intentions aren’t immediately clear but his combination of gift giving and guilting Ava reveals the dangerous predator he actually is.

This is an extremely bold play, between the cutting subject matters presented and excellent performances from both Ava and Tash, you are definitley left with a lump in your throat.

3 out of 5 stars

BIRD is on at The Royal Exchange until 25 June 2016