Little Bird’s initial offering, “February September,” opened to rave reviews and sell out crowds. Audiences are filling our intimate space and praising the play’s humor, smarts and heart. The fabulous ensemble brings to life a thoroughly modern family with joy and skill. In her Cascadia Weekly article, Amy Kepferle calls Little Bird a success and says the play is “wholly enjoyable – intimate, funny and sometimes horrifying.” Christopher Key’s review in Entertainment News Northwest (see below) calls the debut “sensational,” adding, “If there’s any theatrical justice, this show will sell out beginning to end.”
The show runs Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 8pm for the rest of April. Tickets available at the downtown Community Food Coop and at the door. We couldn’t be more pleased to share this work with you. Thanks for making it possible!
From Entertainment News Northwest:
Little Bird takes off
Initial offering sensational
by Christopher Key
If there’s anything more exciting than the opening night of a new show, it would have to be the opening night of a new show from a new theatre group. Add in the fact that it’s written and directed by a local favorite and you can ramp it up another notch. Then top it off with an astonishingly polished performance and you’re in Goose Bump City.
This should come as no surprise to anyone familiar with the accomplishments of the multi-talented Carolyn McCarthy. Playwright, actor, director, musician and now theatrical impresario, she lights up the local stage like no one else.
Her new group, Little Bird Theater, opens its fledgling performance, February September this week and even the most jaded Bellingham theatregoers will be seriously impressed.
Let’s start with the script. McCarthy offers us a very contemporary look at motherhood as she is currently practiced. The so-called nuclear family has undergone some serious fission involving, among other things, single mothers who consciously choose that role. Given the current state of what passes for male role models in this society, it’s an increasingly logical choice. The initial discussion of nature vs. nurture provides an ingenious exposition of which Thomas Galton would approve.
As director, McCarthy then doubles-down with a bulletproof cast, some of whom I have not had the pleasure of reviewing before. Kari Severns leads the way with an emotionally demanding role as the single mother whose biological alarm clock has just gone off. Her expressive face and understanding of pregnant mother physicality is pitch-perfect.
McCarthy plays her control-junkie older sister with an authenticity that is both frightening and riveting. Any contemporary family should include a gay older brother, portrayed with great sensitivity by Tido Ostergaard. When he abandons the role of his sister’s protector to pursue his own happiness, Ostergaard totally delivers the pain of that choice.
His paramour is played by Kristien Ruggiero-Upton with great good humor. Christopher Coombs is the submissive partner to McCarthy’s dominant character and brings a suppressed energy to the part that perfectly emphasizes the role reversals in the post-modern family.
Ben Eisner enters the scene as Severn’s new boyfriend who is torn between his attraction for her and his reluctance to be cast in the role as father of a child he had no role in conceiving. His portrayal of that difficult choice is Hamletian, if I may coin a word.
McCarthy the playwright is hip enough to understand that the high drama must be tempered with humor. There are laugh lines that will make your ribs hurt and when tragedy strikes, the contrast is overwhelming.
The venue for this entrancing production is a storefront space in the old Bellingham Hardware building on Holly Street. As my companion for the evening said, “Having the actors perform just a couple of feet away rather being up on stage, I felt as if I’m peeking into someone’s living room, rather than merely watching a play.”
Mija also captured the ensemble nature of the performance: “The interactions among all six characters were so in sync and effortless without missing a beat.” That’s why I love having another perspective when I review a performance.
February September plays April 12 – 14, 19 – 21 and 26 – 28. Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for students and seniors. Purchase them at the Bellingham Food Co-op or at the door.
If there’s any justice in the theatrical world, this production will sell out beginning to end. You heard it here first.
For more information: www.littlebirdtheater.com.
# # #