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Love Bird

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Premiering at the Butterfly Club, Love Bird is Melbourne playwright Georgina Harriss’s first play. For her debut, Harriss is not afraid to dive deep into realms of the taboo, immersing audience members in truly uncomfortable subject matter that is thankfully offset by liberal amounts of slapstick and humour.

Sweet, innocent eight year-old Franny (Jessica Martin) receives a particularly spunky parrot (John Marc Desengano) from oafish Uncle Bill for her birthday. What follows is a farcical exploration of love, companionship and fledging female sexuality, distilled in the relationship between Franny and her amorous cockatiel, Prince Ping Pong. These themes are also explored through the anxious eyes of Franny’s parents, Joan and Richard (played with a brilliant mixture of empathy, pragmatism and exasperation by Beth Liston and Matt Tester), as they valiantly try to preserve their daughter’s innocence… for just that little bit longer. They play draws clever parallels in the way that childhood and animal sexual development are routinely dismissed, feared, tip-toed around or just plain misunderstood.

But for a short play with a 60-minute run-time, Love Bird is weighed down by trying to bring together too many disparate elements. From the slightly caricaturised characters, the multiple plot threads, the volatile blend of themes, the costumes and the over-the-top props (there’s a giant Dettol™ bottle in the mix, and even a bout of shadow and mechanical puppetry), one can’t help but feel that Love Bird stops just short of taking off.

Love Bird 
The Butterfly Club, Carson Place, off Little Collins Street, Melbourne
thebutterflyclub.com


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