At the centre of Bluebird is Jimmy (Jonathan Keane), a London cabby, whose detached and neutral look invite “fares” to open up. They see the back of his head, we can see his face and behind his seeming neutrality is a darker secret set to be revealed as the story unfolds. A succession of characters sit at the back of the cab, the businessman (Mike Duran whose performance is astonishing) who keeps on visiting the place where his daughter was murdered, the sex worker (Felicity Walsh) who tries to escape her past but also the bouncer (Nathan Hughes) who is not as hard as he pretends, the teacher (Kathryn O’Reilly) who is desperate to have a child, and Richard (Adam Scott Pringle) who is disillusioned with life as an engineer. The cast is fantastic. Some of these short scenes are funny, others are moving but all are as random as London can be and provide us with a fantastic picture of the city and the encounters you can make.
Through their stories we start to fill the blank canvas that Jimmy was at first glance. They add, in their own way, a piece to Jimmy’s story. They talk, they share but the person Jimmy needs to talk to the most, his estranged wife, Clare (Anna Doolan), will not return his calls. Finally she picks up and on a hot summer night they decide to meet up and go back to the place where their lives took a turn for the worst. They lost their daughter five years ago to the day and haven’t met or spoken since. There is some awkwardness, they need to fill some blanks so they talk about “the intransience of love” and “the communicability of the human spirit” before they get to the long overdue face-to-face explanation. It’s heartbreaking to watch but we are there with them until the very end of the play.
There are few jokes and smiles, the play is difficult to watch and will hit you in your very core. There are drugs, alcohol, rape, death, revenge, and violence.
The set is simple so there are no distractions coming in the way of the story. The Space is very intimate and gives the audience the impression they are in the back of the cab too. The current heatwave in London and the stuffiness of the theatre incidentally add to the authenticity. Adam Hemming’s direction allows for very truthful performances. All the characters are well rounded and the cast does a fantastic job bringing them to life. It’s amazing to watch.
Bluebird is about the journey of a man on its way to redemption. It’s beautifully written and acted and well worth a watch.
Bluebird plays at the Space until August 4th.