Sunday, 15 April 2012

Birds of a Feather

They flock together, do birds of a feather – and seemingly these Chigwell sisters just can’t be separated either from each other or their sex-mad neighbour Dorien. Following a nine-year run of the BBC sitcom, Birds of a Feather has been brought to the stage and features the three original leading cast members: Pauline Quirke, Linda Robson and Lesley Joseph.

One of the things that made Birds of a Feather so popular and unique was that it stands as that rare beast – a sitcom focused on female characters. And now the stars have reunited to regenerate sisters Sharon and Tracey and brassy Dorien.

Sharon and Tracey are living a new life in Chigwell with Tracey’s younger son Travis, and battling on through their various problems of unemployment, low wages, agoraphobia and a big family secret – all dealt with in the brash, off-hand and blunt comedy manner you’d expect from these two. But their daily routine is shaken up when a blast from the past suddenly writes to them… and their lives are turned upside down when Dorien reappears, bringing with her as much excitement and drama as befits a woman of her reputation.

It’s a small cast of six, that’s supported by Robert Maskell as Roger Zimmerman, and Caroline Burns Cooke as DS Teddern, and it’s a welcome interruption to the intensity of the three leads to have the supporting actors appear on the stage and soften the impact of the somewhat relentless cheeky jokes and hen-do humour. It was a shame the supporting cast didn’t get more time on stage, especially Cooke as the no-nonsense detective, but Quirke, Robson and Joseph kept the packed audience in stitches throughout. And as the crowds filed out afterwards, I heard nothing but praise for the two-hour show.

I caught the production when it was at the end of its one-week run at Bath Theatre Royal, but Birds of a Feather is currently touring the UK until mid-July. Click here to see future dates and locations. To see what else is on at the Theatre Royal Bath, please click here.

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