In Parakeet, our protagonist (Michelle Tiwo) from Margate is fascinated with birds, parakeets in particular. She is keenly followed by her eccentric neighbour, Dust (Isabel Oliver). Despite bad first impressions, Dust manages to work her way into the bird lover’s life along with Tam, a refugee from Eritrea (Lula Mebrahtu). They initially bond over their shared love of David Attenborough documentaries, ‘it’s like Pornhub for Nature Heads’ but then form lasting friendships as they come together to create a punk band. When the council threatens to cut down a tree during nesting season, this spurs the teenagers into action.
In the opening scene, our lead begins with a beautifully lyrical monologue on the expanse of the sky. We’re told that adults are so wrapped up in their day to day problems that they forget about the beauty of sky – when there are fast clouds, slow clouds and even when there are no clouds. It’s through her love of the sky that she reveals her love for parakeets which she intends to lure using discounted fruit from the Supermarket.
Parakeet perfectly combines activism with artistic expression in a kooky and wonderful new musical. From the patchwork costumes, the original punk music and the colourful hairstyles, this production oozes rebellion, passion and creative freedom. The performers are sensational and our two band members, Brigitte Aphrodite and Quiet Boy provide the most intensely committed drum beating and music playing that I’ve seen in a while. Parakeet is clearly a project dear to the hearts of the creators as we are reminded during the finale that councils are cutting trees down right now and the need to lobby against this. It’s ultimately joyful and uplifting and encapsulates everything that I like to see in a Fringe production.
Parakeet is playing at the Roundabout @ Summerhall on Aug 5, 7-12, 14-19, 21-25 at the time of writing.