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By Lucia Cox

House of Orphans

The Lowry, 18 January 2012

Blackbird by Lucia Cox

In this mesmerising play, which Lucia Cox performs herself, the stage becomes a bare, ruined cage.

It’s the thing that strikes you immediately about this story of a woman kidnapped and held captive: Cox’s adept use of space.  She flutters about the stage, circles it, but there’s no escape.  At one moment she imagines herself in a tree house, while on another occasion she’s on her back, looking upwards.

The monologue, itself a kind of fugue, holds many treasures, including allusions to The Sound of Music and The Night of the Hunter, the classic Robert Mitchum movie.  There’s a disorienting effect overall, the distraught young woman is difficult to pin down.  She seems to be many different characters – each a kind of failed escape.  Her accent changes from American Deep South to, just before the end, Rainy North West.

This was an impressive play from House of Orphans, one of Studio Salford‘s in-house companies.  It’s one of those rare works that must be seen more than once.  The first time for the joy of discovery, the next to soak in – moment to moment – all of the play’s various nuances.

Blackbird is showing again on Friday and Saturday, further details here.

And for details of other plays in the re: play Festival – Sherica is on again tonight – click here.