Review: The Blue Bird, The Albany Theatre

Lightbox Theatre have breathed life into The Blue Bird, which was written in the early 20th century by Maurice Maeterlinck. The Albany was filled with eager children full of high energy who anticipated the tale of Tyltyl to begin.

The play opens with Tyltyl, a little boy playing with his toy dog and toy cat. Tyltyl is then visited by a fairy who requests that he find the blue bird of happiness. With a little hesitation, Tyltyl sets off on his mission in possession of a small diamond from the fairy and his toy cat and dog which have been brought to life by the fairy. The purpose of the diamond is to allow Tyltyl to magically command inanimate objects to have the power to communicate. The trio set out on their adventure, inviting the audience to come along on the journey, which they most certainly do. Tyltyl’s adventure takes him through magical kingdoms, glimpses of his past, talking animals, trees and strange aspects of nature. With any obstacle, Tyltyl’s trusty dog and cat are there to stand by him on the hunt for the blue bird, which it turns out was right in front of him all along.

Jenni Mackenzie played Tyltyl, while the rest of the ensemble – consisting of Ashley Alymann, David Fairs and Siu-see Hung – alternate between the different characters. The various characters are differentiated with clever costume changes including an array of hats, props, altered voices and physical transformations. Many of the character changes are fast-paced in the scenes, but every transformation is clear. Each character is distinguishable from the last and the ensemble work together keeps the story clear and easy to follow for the children in the audience, which is important to keep them interested and engaged. The high energy on stage is mirrored in the audience’s enthusiasm for Tyltly and his quest, with the children’s attention grasped by the actors at all times.

The journey is filled with high energy, encounters and wonders, which little boys don’t usually find while sitting in their bedroom. Naturally enough, the children in the audience are immersed in Tyltyl’s world and appear fully invested in finding the blue bird. As a show for children it is engaging, inventive, sweet and fresh. This tale inspires adults and children alike to take a chance and step outside of their comfort zone and embark on their own adventure as Tyltyl does.

The Blue Bird plays in various venues around London. For more information, click here

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