The Bird Song

Hawthorn Lounge, 82 Tory St, Wellington

21/05/2011 - 28/05/2011

Production Details

A touch of song, a sip of gin
May the ride with Billy begin

A cabaret, The Bird Song is a tale of not missing out on the love that is right in front of you. Billy sings at the Hawthorn 6 nights a week but is looking for something more. When she thinks she’s found her ticket to bigger and better things we find out the importance of the one that knows you best. 

Inspired by the New Zealand dating ritual that is simply mating.

Join Aroha White as Billy with the musical stylings of Stewart and Lis Pedley, stories by Lydia Wisheart and the fine tuned times of Kate McGill as we bring you a drink, a story, a play in a bar.

21, 24, 25, 26, 28 May
at The Hawthorn Lounge, 82 Tory St, Wellington  
Buy tickets there or text ‘birdsong’ with number of tickets to 021 0202 5502
$15 p/ticket
Limited seats.  

Musicians – Stu and Lis Pedley
Story – Lydia Wisheart
Barman – Peter Lowry  

1hr (no show Mon or Fri)

We know where this bird’s going

Review by Lynn Freeman 25th May 2011

Aroha White is a talented actress, she has a singing voice that’s easy on the ear, and she has devised a work for this space specifically.

The story she tells and sings in a taut 40 minutes is about a singer who is looking for love – as usual, in all the wrong places. While White devised the story, it was written by Lydia Wisheart.

Billy is seduced by the prospects of fame in the form of a dodgy but, to the young singer, enticing agent. At a party she gradually realises a truth that she has been blind to for many years.

White as Billy gets intimate with her audience. From the start she builds a good rapport from the start and you can tell she thoroughly enjoys Billy’s persona. The story is told with the help of musicians Stewart and Lis Pedley, and the hard working barman, which works well.

Kate McGill ensures full use is made of the room, from having White lounge on top of the piano, to perching delicately on the edge of the bar.

There’s nothing wrong with a simple story but despite everyone’s best efforts this is too flimsy and predictable to be captivating.
For more production details, click on the title above. Go to Home page to see other Reviews, recent Comments and Forum postings (under Chat Back), and News.  


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An excellent way to end the day or start your evening

Review by John Smythe 25th May 2011

As we follow a hairy pair of muscled legs up the stairs I wonder what we are in for, but he strides on through to a fitness centre as we divert to The Hawthorn Lounge. And what a convivial lounge it is, under the (bar)tender ministrations of Peter Lowry.

The Bird Song’s gorgeously turned out song bird, Billie (Aroha White), has already disported herself atop the upright piano. Seated below are a guitarist and piano accordionist, Stu and Lis Pedley, soon to be introduced as The Flying Terror Bawdy Twins.

The song that gives the show its name (by Devente Hynes and Florence Welch; Florence & the Machine) is a tragic little cautionary tale about trying to silence a bird who knows too much and sings about it too loudly. But having delivered it with a blend of innocence and savagery, Billie is perky and warm in her welcome.

The realm of fraught relationships is further captured with her rendition of the Everly Brothers’ hit, ‘Walk Right Back’ before she tells us of her own recent experience with a sleazy talent scout from England and the issues this raised with her Kiwi manager Joseph.

White characterises Billie, Richard and Joseph with amusing insight, drawing us into the drama of her ambition and addiction, and her consequent emotional and moral dilemmas, with consummate ease and flair. She uses a range of performance conventions to share the experience, and works the room like a pro, endearing Billie to us despite her questionable behaviour.

Three other songs – ‘Between The Bars’ (Elliott Smith), ‘Four Hours in Washington’ (M Ward) which could just as easily be in Wellington, and ‘I’ll Be Your Bird’ (M Ward) – punctuate and support the unfolding story, all well placed and paced by director Kate McGill. The musical backing is lively although a rudimentary sound system allows the guitar to overshadow the voice at times.

Having explored three cat personae in The Litter Box for her Go Solo 09 piece, Aroha White went on to play a delinquent cat to Matariki Whatarau’s imprisoned dog in A Love Tail, also directed by Kate McGill. I’m told that was the first show in the WingHornTails trilogy and The Bird Song is the second.

Playing at 6.30 for just 45 minutes (until Saturday but not on Friday), it offers an excellent way to end the day or start your evening. Recommended.  
For more production details, click on the title above. Go to Home page to see other Reviews, recent Comments and Forum postings (under Chat Back), and News. 


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