Paper Birds have crafted a superb play analysing the impact of poverty and debt on the nation. Through real life stories and verbatim theatre the characters are stripped bare and the overwhelming cycle of debt has rarely been explained with such honesty and pain.

From the outset it is clear that these stories are from people managing to just keep up with life, there is a gritty determination and steely sense of survival at its soul alongside a finely balanced humour to keep the show on track.

A simple set is complemented by an abundance of children’s toys which are used throughout. The use of digital music and projection is also a provocative idea; children’s voices reflect on their aspirations in a debt ridden society where for some a chocolate bar is a key requirement.

The cast of 3: Jemma McDonnell, Kylie Walsh and Shane Durrant move effortlessly through the various characters portrayed. The success of the production firmly rooted in the fact that this is non judgemental. The slow insidious creep of debt catches out the young mum who becomes the focus of the drama the pressures it causes are palpable and destructive.

This is an excellent piece, if just for its reflection of how badly the press treat those with debt. How the media allows adverts to offer ways out only to see finances spiral further out of control. It is hard to recommend this production highly enough and its education value makes it essential viewing. A truly refreshing company providing an insightful thought provoking, inspiring and challenging production.


Catch it on tour.

**** (4 Stars)

Petra Schofield

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