Play questions life’s movements

Dollhouse presents ‘Stupid F...... Bird’ by Aaron Posner 
A (sort of) adaptation of Chekhov’s The Seagull 
New Athenaeum Theatre
Thursday, August 24 

Break down walls and smash mirrors.

Tear off masks and jump naked into icy waters.

That is how it felt to watch the dollhouse Aotearoa premiere of Stupid F...... Bird by Aaron Posner.

Fresh, witty words were delivered with confidence and humour by a cast who relished their lines.

The play challenged the audience to think — what it means to sit in rows, watching people mouth words not their own, move to the tune of someone else’s drum.

The drummer was Ryan Hartigan, who directed his cast of six with a light touch that felt free and energetic.

The cast worked as one, jumping easily from pathos to playful.

Reva Grills as Mash had some fantastic moments of song that left me wanting to hear more.

Daniel Dickenson, portraying Conrad, had the task of carrying meatier moments of the play.

He rose to the challenge with quiet resolve.

I was particularly impressed by Tia Hibbert as Dev, a role that is part narrator, part fool, part fool in love.

Cheyne Jenkinson as Sorn, Ciara Mare as Nina, Mārama Grant as Emma and Rio Futschek Ryan as Trigoran, all contributed to a highly cohesive ensemble performance.

A simple set and lighting never distracted, scene changes were introduced casually by cast members.

I enjoyed the teasing nature of the work.

The play twists and tempts the audience to be witness to our own stage directions, to question our movement through life.

While digging deep into questions on life’s purpose, it takes time out to grab a sandwich.

If you are going to bury your head in muck, it pays to sometimes pause for a laugh.

There are further shows today at 2pm and 7pm.

Review by Simon Henderson