Flightless Birds

Maidment Theatre - Musgrove Studio, Auckland

13/04/2011 - 21/04/2011

Production Details

The boys are off on the trip of a life time to Europe – they just have to make it to the airport and then they’ll be away laughing. What could possibly go wrong?

From the company that brought you TWACAS (The West Auckland Cardigan Appreciation Society) and A City of Souls comes the new play from Sam Berkley, Flightless Birds.

Flightless Birds, a show examining the greatest of all Kiwi traditions – ‘The Big O.E.’ – is on at The Musgrove Studio from 13 – 21 April at 8pm.

Bill and the boys have been talking about this trip for years and it’s finally here. It’s the night before and everything is all set to go as long as Joops doesn’t forget anything. He does have a reputation for being a bit unreliable, but surely this time he’ll be fine.

However, when Joops unwittingly brings Simon’s ex-girlfriend along things naturally become a bit tense and Bill finds himself struggling to keep the peace. 

A Lotto win, a missing passport, betrayal and a pre-flight bender – suddenly the boys’ best laid plans are all coming apart at the seams. Can they pull it together or is the whole trip doomed before it even begins?

Flightless Birds stars Sam Berkley (Go Girls, Apollo 13 Mission Control), Ben van Lier (A City of Souls, A Suburban Murder), Chelsea McEwan Millar (Under the Mountain, Bliss) and Colin Garlick (A Suburban Murder, The Sex Show).

Of playwright and actor Sam Berkley Theatreview’s Joanna Davies says, “The man has one hell of a gift,” and comments that his debut play TWACAS was “tighter than an XS Argyle on an XXXL gent.”

Catalyst Theatre Company – a collective the NZ Herald dubbed as “an energetic and enterprising” – formed in 2007. The company produced their first work, A City of Souls, in 2008. Flightless Birds is the first of three works that comprise the company’s 2011 season.

Flightless Birds
The Musgrove Studio
13-21 April at 8pm and 4pm on Sunday.
To book tickets phone (64 9) 308 2383
or visit www.maidment.auckland.ac.nz .
For more information visit www.catalysttheatre.co.nz/

Sam Berkley
Ben van Lier
Chelsea McEwan Millar
Colin Garlick  

Nice guys don’t always finish last

Review by Joanna Page 15th Apr 2011

In Sam Berkley’s Flightless Birds three school friends meet up to embark on their big OE. For Bill (Ben Van Lier) it’s the trip of a lifetime, for Simon (Colin Garlick) it’s a short break before he furthers his call-centre career, and for free-spirit Lotto-winning Joops (Sam Berkley) it’s just another awesome adventure. 

If they make it to the airport.

And if the unexpected extra traveller, Ashley (Chelsea McEwan Millar), doesn’t put a spanner in the works.

The story takes place in Bill’s flat the night before the flight. Amid beer bottles, cartons and almost-packed bags their friendship is tested and loyalties called into question. Some will realise they’re being taken advantage of, and others that they’re to blame.

I saw Catalyst’s production TWACAS last year and really enjoyed it, so I was keen to see what they’d come up with next. Generally I’m not one to rave, but Flightless Birds is flawless. 

The play has a great sense of pace – and it’s driven by real, honest dialogue. Nothing in the script seems out of place for the characters whose strengths and flaws are revealed at just the right time to build tension.

Thanks to a tight cast, great direction by Jonathan Hodge, and Berkley’s seamless script, the audience likes, loathes and empathises with all four characters at once. And, as it should be with a great production, the set, lighting and sound were so integral to the story, they went largely unnoticed.

And as for whether they made the flight – go and check it out. I won’t spoil the ending. Suffice to say, nice guys don’t always finish last.
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