What with Tracey Emin, the immigration crisis, and soaring London property prices, the Kent town of Margate has become something of a site of struggle in British society, a prey to forces of both gentrification and reaction.
Parakeet, Roundabout @ Summerhall (Venue 26) * * *
It’s there that writer Brigitte Aphrodite, musician Quiet Boy, and director Laura Keefe set this vibrant youth-theatre-style tale about a young black girl from London who feels as out of place in Margate as one of London’s exotic wild parakeets, resented for driving out local birds.
She is interested in birds, though; and in the local park, she soon links up with two other girls who, like her, want to form a band, and also want to prevent the local council from taking down a large tree full of nesting birds. The whole tale is told in vibrant style, with extravagant brightly-coloured bird costumes galore, and music at every turn in the tale, from loud and glorious to sweet and wistful.
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And if the story itself is pretty much a standard fairy-tale of a young girl “finding her flock” and beginning to assert her own identity, the show – which features Lula Mebrahtu, Isabel Oliver and Michelle Tiwo as the girls – still makes a fine job of celebrating the sheer power of music as a force for self-expression and liberation, and of setting out its manifesto for “the new spirit of punk – punk with empathy.”
Until 25 August.