‘A poignant celebration of London’s infinite variety’: BLUEBIRD – The Space

In London theatre, Opinion, Plays, Reviews by Laura KresslyLeave a Comment

The Space – until 4 August 2018
Guest reviewer: Gregory Forrest

“God it’s hot.” “Did you know it’s the hottest summer we’ve had in 14 years?” “It’s too hot.” Pretty much every line from Bluebird speaks true, but my God do these words glitter. Like beads of sweat.

Jimmy is a cabby, drifting through the nooks and crannies of London, picking people up and dropping them off. Through mundane confessions, flirtations, and farewells, he sketches a map of the city made out of stories. But what about his story? That’s seven seventy please.

The debut play from Olivier Award-winning playwright Simon Stephens (Harper Regan, Punk Rock, and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time) is a testament to his skill as a storyteller, weaving banal conversations with a heartbreaking undercurrent of loss and redemption. All on a single summer’s evening.

Space Productions delivers a production which is full of zest and smart choices. Particular praise is due to Jonathan Keane as Jimmy, who gives the play its essential wry humour and emotional texture. As his estranged wife Clare, Anna Doolan also unpacks her character with careful insight and kindness. Director Adam Hemming’s staging is slightly imbalanced to one side of the auditorium but this can be easily resolved, and his attention to the movement and music of the piece is thoughtful of the play’s themes.

Bluebird is a poignant celebration of London’s infinite variety. One character observes two essential traits of those who live in London: a) they’re from somewhere else, and b) they want to leave. Yet here we all are. Basking in a heatwave. Roaming around and bumping into each other. If there’s a play that will give you hope for London in its current haze, that play is Bluebird.

Laura Kressly on Twitter
Laura Kressly
Laura is a US immigrant who has lived in the UK since 2004. Originally trained as an actor with a specialism in Shakespeare, she enjoyed many pre-recession years working as a performer, director and fringe theatre producer. When the going got too tough, she took a break to work in education as a support worker, then a secondary school drama teacher. To keep up with the theatrical world, she started reviewing for Everything Theatre and Remotegoat in 2013. In 2015, Laura started teaching part time in order to get back into theatre. She is now a freelance fringe theatre producer and runs her independent blog, theplaysthethinguk.com.
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Laura Kressly on Twitter
Laura Kressly
Laura is a US immigrant who has lived in the UK since 2004. Originally trained as an actor with a specialism in Shakespeare, she enjoyed many pre-recession years working as a performer, director and fringe theatre producer. When the going got too tough, she took a break to work in education as a support worker, then a secondary school drama teacher. To keep up with the theatrical world, she started reviewing for Everything Theatre and Remotegoat in 2013. In 2015, Laura started teaching part time in order to get back into theatre. She is now a freelance fringe theatre producer and runs her independent blog, theplaysthethinguk.com.