Birdy…or, how not to disappear (by mouse + meadow productions currently playing at the Toronto Fringe) is a one-woman show that explores the intertwined relationship between her own mental/emotional state and the memories of her father. During the show Karie Richards discusses her childhood and family relationships which we can see have shaped her into the anxious, worried, I-can-fix-it person she is today.
I don’t really know how to discuss this show without giving the plot away, but at the same time this story isn’t about the plot. It’s about the feeling and emotion that is unfolded with every little thought that Richards lets you in on. Her intensity is tangible. The show doesn’t feel put on or rehearsed in any way. I felt like I was in the room with a friend who was speaking to me with a level of openness and honesty that I wasn’t privy to before. The show has a dream-like quality where it shifts between past and present with easy fluidity, which is quite a feat considering there are no props or set.
Richards has guilt surrounding her father’s death even though he struggled with mental illness and possibly committed suicide when she was just a girl. Maybe she could have listened more, or paid more attention or all the other things we make up to hold ourselves accountable for other people’s actions that are far beyond our control. The one thing that really stuck with me was when she talked ignoring people, the ones we love but couldn’t be bothered with in that particular moment for whatever reason, do their hearts actually vanish? Is that maybe when they stop living?
In under an hour Richards delivers an outstanding performance while tackling some heavy subject matter with refreshing simplicity. I highly recommend seeing this show before it disappears.
Birdy…or, how not to disappear is playing at the Helen Gardiner Phelan Playhouse (79 St. George St)
July 05 at 01:45 PM
July 07 at 09:00 PM
July 09 at 04:00 PM
July 11 at 11:00 PM
July 12 at 05:15 PM
July 13 at 12:00 PM
Tickets for all mainstage productions are $10 at the door, cash only. Advance tickets are $12, and can be purchased online, by phone (416-966-1062), or from the festival box office at the Fringe Club. (Rear of Honest Ed’s, 581 Bloor St. West). Money-saving value packs are also available if you are going to at least five shows; see website for details.
LATECOMERS ARE NEVER ADMITTED TO FRINGE SHOWS. To avoid disappointment, be sure to arrive a few minutes before curtain.
Photo of Karie Richards by Leslie Marino
One thought on “Birdy…or, how not to disappear (mouse+meadow productions) 2014 Toronto Fringe Review”
Saw “Birdy” last night – July 7 – and was not disappointed. From seeing her in several productions and even being onstage with her in one, I knew Karie Richards was a lovely, sensitive actor as well as a wonderful person. Blown away by her performance as “Birdy”. While I often dismiss solo shows as wanks/public therapy sessions, this one didn’t feel that way. Discussed with several other audience members afterwards, and though we had different interpretations of some events, our overall reviews were the same: FABULOUS!
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