[2010072] Man Covets Bird

Man Covets Bird

Slingsby @ Space Theatre

7:00pm, Thu 4 Mar 2010

Slingsby’s logo carries a little by-line, a motto: “journey in wonder”. That’s a perfectly apt description for Man Covets Bird; it’s a beautifully produced meandering little coming-of-age tale from the point of view of a man leaving home, entering the big wide world, who seemingly forms a co-dependent relationship with a small bird. A friendship develops, emotional turmoil besets the Man, and…

Look – plot is not Man Covets Bird‘s strong point. Where it excels – really excels – is in production values. Direction is impeccable; the live music quiet and divine. The set, whilst simple enough, has an air of elegance about it, and there are park benches scattered about the audience… and a lawn has been bedded into The Space for us to sit on. Real grass.

Nathan O’Keefe’s Man is likeable enough: a bit naïve, maybe, but his simple and optimistic view towards life is inoffensive. But the whole production wallows in such a deep pool of melancholy that it feels like it should be seen through a sepia-tinted lens in soft focus. It’s an awfully gentle, twee production that feels like it’s pitched as a feel-good message-based play for schoolkids… but the production values suggest much more than that.

“Journey in wonder,” eh? Well, the journey was there, and it certainly was a delightful – if not wondrous – feast for the senses. But the lingering memory from this piece was the smell of the fresh grass in the air… that’s something you don’t get every Festival.

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