Theatre Review: Put a Little Birdhouse in Your Soul

review

“The Flock!”, written and produced by Byrd Productions (part of the KC Fringe Festival): seen July 28, 2011

(Full disclosure: I donated $20 to Beth Byrd’s Kickstarter campaign to raise funding for this piece to perform at the Fringe because I know Beth and I like to support various arts organizations when I do have the extra money. Addendum: I probably wouldn’t have gone to this production otherwise, as I’m not a huge fan of clowning and/or mime as a performance art. I don’t hate it, but I don’t seek it out, either.)

I think I may be going deaf.

This will be the third or fourth of my Fringe shows in which I had trouble hearing and understanding the cast of the show. I lost a good part of the dialogue, and had to look at the program a couple of times to understand what names the various clowns of “The Flock!” were calling each other. Catherine Pajor, as Natasha Tinkerbell Dirt – as much as I liked her character – was especially hard to understand, as she seemed to drop her voice an octave and rushed many of her lines.

When you go into “The Flock!”, you’re provided with a red nose with your program. (I’ve added this to my WTF bumper sticker and Hitler voodoo doll, and hope to add a Fringe t-shirt so I can get a photo collage of the various Fringe swag I collected this year.) While listening to various songs involving birds, from the Beatles’ “Norwegian Wood” to They Might Be Giants’ “Birdhouse in Your Soul”, I definitely get the impression that this will not be a serious show.

Larry Goodman, from
Larry Goodman. Photo by Richard Sutton

Larry Goodman, as troubadour Nathan Swashbuck, lies on the ground, and with a quick and humorous note to the tech booth from Ellen Pajor (as my favorite out of the batch, May Lacey Blaine, in full tutu mode), we get a dark set. Then, with the theme from the opening of 2001, the batch of six clowns ‘wake up’, and we’re given a batch of little skits – some work, some not so much.

Ellen Pajor’s ‘rendition’ of a combination of “I Dreamed a Dream” (with a wink and a nod to Susan Boyle, I think) and “On My Own” from Les Misérables was probably my favorite sequence. It started out making me laugh, and ended with me wanting to give Pajor a sympathetic hug.

I also liked Catherine Pajor’s “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” rap, as well as Goodman’s “Me and My Shadow” (which I can’t explain why it was funny without ruining the joke). And the “It’s a bathroom joke!”, “No, it’s a penis joke!” dialogue definitely makes this live up to the ‘adult themes’ I had heard was in it.

I really enjoyed all the various costumes, as they added just the right amount of whimsy to the proceedings, and the idea of making the scene changes part of the shtick was clever.

However, the bits that don’t work (especially the bits surrounding a fox stole) just didn’t grab me, and the Living Room gets a little stuffy in the end, not helping matters much. It’s uneven as a result, the humor strained in some parts.

“The Flock!” has one more performance, and tickets are $10. More information can be found at http://www.kcfringe.org/2011/artist.php?ID=92.

This review has been posted to the KC Stage review system. Agree or disagree? You can rate / review this show yourself (requires free registration) by going to fringe.kcstage.com (where every review gets you put into a drawing for prizes).