Director: Jemma Mc Donnell
Reviewer: Marina Spark
Theatrical productions have, over the years, used a myriad of performance spaces. From big budget large stages to low-key fringe venues, theatre comes in all shapes and sizes. It isn’t often that you encounter a show that incorporates both an intimate, comfortable space with cutting edge storytelling technology, however with Mobile, The Paper Birds have achieved exactly that.
With an audience of only eight and a performance space of roughly 10 square metres, Mobile’s set is cosy to say the least. An early ice breaking scene before the audience enters the theatre space helps to set the tone and ensure that everyone is fully at ease within the confines of the caravan. The audience is promptly welcomed into the caravan space by the sole performer, Kylie Walsh, who plays Cindy. On entering the theatrical space it is immediately apparent that this is not your ordinary caravan. The breathtaking technology within is expertly camouflaged from the outside, however, the minute that we cross the threshold we realise that we are in for something special.
The mundane facets of the caravan’s interior are given starring roles within the performance through the combination of live and recorded performance. In their own words The Paper Birds are “a devising theatre company with a political agenda”, and this agenda is effortlessly yet poignantly revealed as the piece progresses. The focus on not only the positive but also the negative elements of social mobility is highly thought-provoking. The way in which the audience is subtly encouraged to introspect themselves and assess each other before entering the space is the ideal primer for this cohesive message; that we are affected not only by our personal choices but also by our roots and the lives of our parents.
Kylie Walsh is grounded and confident in her portrayal of Cindy. Despite the unforgiving proximity between Walsh and the audience she never wavers, and the audience interaction is effortless and entertaining. Walsh works well with the technology that seeps from every socket and cupboard within the space.
Mobile is a production that is rich in metaphor, with a few of these remaining not fully explored. While this leaves the audience asking questions, a greater exposition would have enriched the production further and focussed the audience on the social commentary to a greater extent.
Mobile is a highly enjoyable and unique theatrical experience. At only 40 minutes long it packs a phenomenal amount into a tiny space in every sense possible. Well worth a watch.
Runs until 5 November 2016 | Image: The Paper Birds