Adelaide Cabaret Festival, Her Majesty's Theatre, until June 22
Review by Honey B
I want to tell you a story. Once upon a time, not so long ago, I knew a boy. There was a boy. There once was a boy.Stop, wait - there was a boy and a girl.The boy is Paul Capsis who gives a master class in performance as the lost Wren in this sublime co-production between The State Theatre Company and the Adelaide Cabaret Festival.The girl is Nicki Bloom who has crafted the beautifully moving, stark and lyrical wordplay of the riveting piece of theatre which was written specifically for Capsis.Little Bird is actually a loose adaptation on the Brothers Grimm gruesome fairytale, The Juniper Tree, but Bloom has axed the macabre and replaced it with the poetic - an aching desire for Wren to find his place in the world.Capsis is Little Bird.For 70 minutes Capsis reveals layer after layer in a breathtaking performance. It proves that writing with a performer in mind truly works.Born out of much love and desire Wren grows up in the warm nest of his parent's love until one day his mother goes missing.On a journey of self-discovery and looking for his mother, Wren leaves his isolated family home and grief-stricken father for the lights of the big city.Along the way he meets a Girl and Rocky the Woodcutter and Wren makes some startling transformations and discoveries about love, his place in the world and himself.Composers Quentin Grant and Cameron Goodall add to the whimsical atmosphere and stay true to Bloom's melodic beat. The nine songs are in the folk style and closely resemble a Nick Cave tune.Stand-outs include The Lullaby in which Capsis sings as his mother, father and Wren and the words are looped around the theatre. The Girl Said to the Wind is also beautiful and playing to Capsis' rock God side is the powerful The Woodcutter Song.The whole production is simply seamless from the live band to Geoff Cobham's ever-evolving set - which starts as a white box and transforms into a forest and a city - to Ailsa Peterson's dark fantasy costuming.Thanks to Capsis' incredible talents and the gloriously understated writing of Bloom, this new work takes flight and is a must-see of the Adelaide Cabaret Festival.