"Some Birds Never Return" - but these just might
It's a chilly, but beautiful evening and Mary is throwing a party. Everything has to be perfect. Her haven – a house in the middle of nowhere – is deserted as guests are gathering in the garden. Mary's pride and joy is full of red and orange flowers, with tall plants growing freely, just as it should be in nature. Elegant gin glasses are filled to the top and little canapés laid out on the table. But guests don't seem that interested. Rosie, one of the neighbours, likes to cut down trees Mary loves so much. Mrs Fisher won't drink any gin. She loves tea instead. Her husband seems to love anything, but that damn tea. Then there is the boyfriend – Martin. He's well-mannered at first. He's also got a wandering eye. Or is Mary imagining it all? Anything seems possible when the hostess eats Prozac for dinner and downs it with gin. Or when a special artist guest, Kevin, spends six hours driving to the party, his calm presence and aura bewitching the ladies as if Dalai Lama himself had walked in. You're invited – enter at your own risk.
“Some Birds Never Return” is a grotesque, but laugh-out-loud play about mental health, abuse, addiction, freedom and different ways of obtaining it. How does one put all of this in a low-budget performance? With the right people. Director and writer, Theodor Spiridon created a perfect, yet disturbing scene by casting actors who seemed to inspire their own roles. His play with language and dark humour gave birth to a balanced script with just enough freedom for the cast to explore their characters, his message to be sent, and unexpected jokes to keep the audience on their toes. As the result, you are gifted an eventful evening with as many hearty laughs as gasps. An evening that can leave you in a state of melancholy and urge to live well. And a huge thirst for gin.
We join a neurotic Mary as she obviously struggles with life and her own feelings. Played by Patrycja Dynowska, Mary seems to be the least comfortable person to watch. Her smile rarely fades, as antidepressants and alcohol mute her cry for help and a need to escape from an abusive boyfriend. Sebastian White gives such a convincing performance of a stable host that you might find yourself believing him despite all the evidence that he's the bad guy. Although, he might still be the most normal one. Or is it Rosie, played by Frederica Marilotti who takes over the stage with confidence inserted by her character of a heavy-drinking, smoking and optimistic attitude? With all of these strong performances, it is amazing to see the awkward couple of Mrs and Mr Fisher steal so much of the spotlight. Mimmi Bauer is like a natural light in that depressive garden and even though she only appears for a short time, the audience already shakes with laughter when Mrs Fisher shows up on stage. Playing her husband is Michał Szpak who is as funny as he is tragic. Perfect couple indeed. But this isn't a story about perfect couples and a tea/gin (or as Mrs Fisher invents “tin”) party. There is only so much pretence people can keep up the entire party and the night is getting dark.
The last one standing are Mary and Kevin. These two emotional and sensitive characters seem to transform unexpectedly, letting their true natures roam in the night. Patrycja Dynowska and Tim McFarland become a wicked couple who believe to be the only sane people there, about to save humanity by simply getting rid of everyone else. Their performance together makes for a chilly and disturbing ending into how well we can mask our madness behind Dalai Lama references, cocktail dresses, soft words and smiles. They create a world where the spectator feels uncomfortable by Patrycja's evil laugh and Tim's penetrating gaze. By the time this house party ends, you'll be sure to look at things differently, some of them being your neighbour, trees, people closest to you and well, gin and tea.