REVIEW: Love Birds – Pleasance Courtyard, Edinburgh

This pin-sharp, production perfectly demonstrates that the apple hasn’t fallen far from the songwriting talent tree in the Sherman family. Writer, composer and lyricist Robert J. Sherman, grandson of Tin Pan Alley alumni Al Sherman, son of Robert B. and nephew of Richard M. – the world-renowned Sherman Brothers composing duo who wrote the music for Mary Poppins; Chitty, Chitty Bang Bang, The Jungle Book and The Aristocats, has created a one-of-a-kind gem of a new musical.

This utterly charming tale is set at the height of the vaudeville era but sparkles with bang-up-to-date originality throughout. An avian revue featuring a quartet of penguins (who bear an uncanny resemblance to those in Mary Poppins – but we can’t say that because that would be copyright infringement), a trio of singing macaw sisters and starring Baalthazar – a rainbow-hued, thoroughly temperamental, savoury cracker addict feathered Caruso, is thrown into disarray when Baalthazar goes missing and their dinosaur (literally, he’s a plesiosaur) boss refuses to change with the times.

This is an absolute shining jewel of a show, which oozes quality from start to end: from the outstanding costumes, to the catchy tunes, to the charming book, to the highly inventive choreography (in an extremely confined space) and the perfectly judged performances of its highly talented cast – it shines bright above its peers at this year’s Fringe. Packed with meticulous detail throughout, the only fault is that you leave wishing there was more. With appeal for both adults and children alike, I’m sure this won’t be the last we hear of the thoroughly loveable Love Birds.

Runs until 31st August 2015

Image: Steve Ullathorn

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