Birthday by Crystal Skillman and Kibo Productions at the Sheephaven Bay

Review by Carmel Shortall

A man sits on stage listening to music as the audience pack into the back room of the Sheephaven Bay. After the door closes, a woman opens it and enters from the pub, letting the noise in with her.

For a moment it seems as if she’s a late-comer but then she spots the man and apologises for bursting in on him. She is Leila, escaping, not from the football in a Camden pub, but from a birthday party full of “broker boys” and co-workers in a New York bar. She is a bit drunk and reluctant to leave her new haven.

Kyle puts on a track by Neil Young as the two discuss their lives in general and birthday parties in particular. It emerges that it is also Leila’s birthday but nobody cares. Or has she found herself a real ‘heart of gold’ in the back room?

The setting of the Sheephaven suits this play perfectly and Sharon Wllems’ direction makes full use of the small space but the characters don’t live up to expectations: Kyle is a little dull and Leila is a bit whiney. It’s a shame because the premise is a good one.   

Birthday has its final night at 7.15pm, Sunday 28th August at the Sheephaven Bay, 2-3 Mornington Street.

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