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By Hilary Simmons
August 28, 2011
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By Hilary Simmons
August 28, 2011
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Sweet Bird Andsoforth is about a group of friends caught in that awkward place between adolescence and adulthood. Playing with the imaginary pleasures of their undecided futures, they are burning unchannelled energy in a town “where there is no common youth club, no pub and no café… and not a trace of city.” Yet it is proving a surprisingly hard place to leave. The friends are realising that, regardless of their choices, they're still going to have to continue to deal with a strange, consumerist world where it’s an act of courage to take any kind of artistic or emotional plunge.

The script of Sweet Bird Andsoforth was written by a 22-year-old German playwright called Laura Naumann, and the play has never been produced - until now. Praise must go to the translator, Benjamin Winspear, for his lyrical and stimulatingly surreal dialogue, while director Laura Scrivano makes the most of a group of young actors who have energy, versatility and vivacity to burn. Hanna Sandgren's set design features a sloping stage ideally suited to drunken staggers and individualistic swaggers. The hillside slant is particularly effective when characters leave or re-appear - when Bomb (Alex Millwood) and Tiny (Geraldine Hakewill) decide to chase life's “beautiful moments” together, they quite literally leap off the edge.

This original production had a three-week creative development period at Fraser Studios in 2010 before securing its four-week season as part of ATYP's Under the Wharf program. Initially developed with the support of World Interplay, it is innovative and ballsy theatre, vividly recalling a period of time we can all relate to: we've all been 18. With particularly strong performances from Geraldine Hakewill and Michael Cutrupi, it's accessible but poignant, a rare combination which engages as well as challenges the audience.

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