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Sunday, July 14, 2013


(Adam Doré. Pic by Casey Ramos-Violante photocase photography)

Fascinating story of an inventor frantically trying to prove something to himself and the world. (Review by Caroline Smart)

Augustus St John Merriweather is on a roll as he excitedly explains to a group of possible investors that he is to build a flying machine.

This is 1890 – George Cayley has already worked to discover a way that man could fly and Otto Lilienthal has yet to become the first person to actually design a glider in 1891 that could carry a person and fly long distances.

However, Augustus St John Merriweather believes he has the answer and he puts his project forward with passion. In his words, one must “speculate to accumulate” and “our destiny is to overcome obstacles”. But there is an ulterior motive here – he is a convicted conman and, apart from looking for another money-making outlet, he wants to get out of Boston and take his sister Rebecca to live in New York.

Rebecca, who we never see, has her own agenda. Her departure bursts his bubble, leaving him bereft and vulnerable, recalling the days when their mother upped and left them when they were children.

Directed and written by Marc Kay, Birdman is the fascinating story of an inventor frantically trying to prove something to himself and the world. A very engaging actor, Adam Doré is perfectly credible in the required changes of mood and energy. His belief that he is “a man of science, not a swindler” allows you to finally sympathise with him.

Bryan Hiles’ creation of the glider is a masterpiece! The last scene at Harvard Fields, where Merriweather is to launch the glider was memorable.

Presented by The Actors Unemployed, Birdman is a show to look out for. I’m glad I finally caught up with it at the 2013 National Arts Festival, after missing it over the past few years. – Caroline Smart