Parakeet (4 stars)

This article is from 2019


credit: Jane Hobson

Girl-power musical about three bird-loving teenage girls in Margate

Music is often the weakest link in a fringe show; a couple of taps on a glockenspiel is often considered to be a virtuoso performance in a minimal show. Parakeet, a new musical featured in the Paines Plough Roundabout venue, does not short-change the audience in this respect; the music comes in bursts, with five players on stage, and has the quality and the energy of a live gig that raises the roof on the tiny venue.

The subject is birds; parakeets which take improbable flight paths through English skies. No-one knows how the came to be so far from home, but their surprising appearance is part of the rich tapestry of life in Margate and Thanet. That's where Girl (Michelle Tiwo) has found herself decanted, and while she soon strikes up a negative relationship with her mother's new boyfriend, there's compensations in the form of two new girl-friends, Dust (Isabel Oliver) and Tam (Lula Mebrahtu), who join forces with girl to form a punk band and also to save a tree which the local council have deemed surplus to requirements.

'This play is not about us,' says Brigitte Aphrodite and Quiet Boy aka Gaz Tomlinson, who introduce the show; their strong engagement with the audience and musical accompaniments provides a platform for the girls to let rip. And let rip they do, with songs with have a little David Bowie, and a little Elvis Costello, but a whole lot of original Parakeet pop energy; after a successful fringe run with My Beautiful Black Dog, Parakeet marks another successful outing for Aphrodite and Tomlinson, and should strike a blow for post-punk girls everywhere. Addressing hot topics from climate change to race, it's a fizzing ball of energy of a show that should get all those who encounter it flying high.

Summerhall, until 25 Aug, 5.05pm, £14–15 (£12–13).


  • 4 stars

Boundless Theatre and Boom Shakalaka Productions In Margate, an isolated teenager forms a band and finds her voice with the help of a gang of exotic birds. A new musical about finding your flock and ruffling feathers, Parakeet is a feast for the ears, eyes and heart told through irresistible song, poetry and electronic…