The Birds is a show of ups and downs, figuratively and literally. Composed of many stunning scenes of dance, singing and acrobatics, the show is betrayed by confused direction and indulgent interludes.
The audience files into a grandly decorated Space Theatre decked out with cabaret style seating to find slowly gyrating performers on stage. Each waves a green feather through the air, which play beautifully in the impressive lighting array. The performers doll out sultry stares to the audience and build a true sense of anticipation. Yet once the show gets under way the cracks quickly appear. After a surreal crowing monologue from one of the show’s creative fonts, Moira Finucane, another performer sheds a fur coat to begin a rollicking performance set to Reggaeton complete with some aggressively fun twerking. At this stage, it is fair to presume the show will be an avant-garde, contemporary burlesque and cabaret performance, but we veer incongruously into a ballad from the crystalline Mama Alto, then into a great acrobatic performance from Rocky Stone and so on, zig-zagging through styles and genres with little transition or explanation as to the point of it all. The show is punctuated by Finucane’s melodramatic interludes that only serve to distract and detract from the saving grace that is the collection of talented performers assembled on stage. Taken individually, their segments are high quality, often impressive (save the occasional misfire – like an ill-advised cover of Sia’s Chandelier) and lit beautifully. But together they form an unwieldy pastiche held together by an avian theme and feathers. This is the fatal flaw of The Birds. The performers fly high, but they are shot out of the sky by Finucane and Smith’s confused direction. 2 stars The Birds continues at the Space Theatre until Saturday, June 25. adelaidecabaretfestival.com.au