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INTRODUCTION 

LOVE BIRDS

INTRODUCTION

Love Birds, premiered at the 2015 Edinburgh Fringe Festival, is an original musical with music, lyrics and book by Robbie Sherman. It centres around a quartet of penguins -  who once knew a nanny called Mary Poppins and who have now formed a barbershop quartet - and a trio of parrots, members of a one-of-a-kind, all-avian revue in the age of vaudeville.

The musical follows closely in the Oscar-winning footsteps of Robbie Sherman's father and uncle (the Sherman Brothers) and has, according to The Stage, "all the magic and invention that you'd hope to see from the Sherman dynasty, plus a few contemporary surprises". Love Birds was hailed as a "soaraway feelgood hit" by the Telegraph.

After success in Edinburgh, Robbie and director Stewart Nicholls are now working on a full-length version of Love Birds ahead of a planned London premiere.

For additional coverage onLove Birds- including extensive interviews with Robbie, the creative team and cast from the premiere production - visit the full show website at www.lovebirdsthemusical.com.

SYNOPSIS 

SYNOPSIS

The year is 1923. It is the age of vaudeville. The story centres around a quartet of penguins (Parker, Preseley, Pewcey and Puck) and a trio of parrots (Vera, Veronica and Valentine) who sing and dance, dazzling and delighting their audiences, night after night in a one-of-a-kind, all-avian revue run by plesiosaur impresario Armitage Shanks.

But when the show's temperamental star, the Italian opera-singing Baalthazar Macaw, succumbs to his addiction to crunchy crackers and mysteriously goes missing, it threatens to close down the show for good.

Meanwhile, love blossoms in the troupe, but can it work across species and other differences?
HISTORY 

HISTORY

Love Birds officially premiered on 7 August 2015 at the 2015 Edinburgh Fringe Festival at Pleasance Two at the Pleasance Courtyard. Prior to its Edinburgh run, the show previewed at the Lost Theatre, Stockwell in London for two performances on 28 and 29 July. The Original Edinburgh Cast Album was recorded on 30 July 2015 and released by SimG Records on 12 August during the Edinburgh Festival season. 

CHARACTERS 

CHARACTERS

CHARACTERS


  • Armitage Shanks (aka “The Loch Ness Monster”) - The 65 million-year-old plesiosaur impresario of "Love Birds", the only all singing and dancing bird act on the vaudeville circuit
  • Baalthazar Macaw - Sometimes billed as “The Feathered Caruso”, the opportunistic and self-centered male diva parrot is very aware that he is the secret to the success of "Love Birds"

THE MACAWS 

  • Vera - The more mature and pragmatic macaw of the show's three female singers, The Macaw Sisters
  • Veronica - The “Marilyn Monroe”, sexy, voluptuous vamp of the The Macaw Sisters
  • Valentine - The youngest of the macaw trio, this ingénue is also the daughter of Baalthazar

THE PENGUINS 

  • Parker - The born leader of the barbershop quartet. The others naturally seem to follow Parkers’ big-brother-like sensibilities.
  • Presley - The “Elvis” of the four penguins and most likely rebel of the bunch
  • Pewcey - More fastidious than your average penguin, Pewcey is the most uptight of the foursome
  • Puck - The youngest and most innocent in the quartet, whose love for Valentine grows throughout the show

CAST & CREATIVE 

CAST & CREATIVE

CAST

The premiere production of Love Birds in August 2015 starred the following:

  • ARMITAGE SHANKS – John Guerrasio
  • BAALTHAZAR MACAW – Greg Castiglioni
  • VERA MACAW – Anna Stolli
  • VERONICA MACAW – Joanna Sawyer
  • VALENTINE MACAW – Ruth Betteridge
  • PUCK – George Knapper
  • PRESLEY – Jonny Purchase
  • PARKER – Rafe Watts
  • PEWCEY – Ryan Willis

CREATIVES

The creative team on the premiere production of Love Birds were:

  • BOOK, MUSIC & LYRICS - Robert J. Sherman
  • DIRECTOR & CHOREOGRAPHER - Stewart Nicholls
  • MUSICAL SUPERVISOR & ARRANGEMENTS - Richard Healey
  • MUSICAL DIRECTOR - Neil McDonald
  • DESIGNER - Gabriella Slade
  • LIGHTING DESIGNER - Rob Mills
  • SOUND DESIGNER - Andy Hinton

OTHER

The following also worked on the premiere production and the Edinburgh run of Love Birds.

  • CASTING DIRECTOR - Stephen Moore
  • STAGE MANAGER - Roisin Symes
  • PRODUCTION MANAGER - Simon Streeting
  • PRODUCTION ASSISTANT - Adam Niemann
  • PHOTOGRAPHER - Claire Bilyard
  • PRESS REPRESENTATIVE - Susie Safavi
  • SOCIAL MEDIA - Terri Paddock
  • GRAPHIC DESIGNER - Rebecca Pitt
  • ADDITIONAL PIANO ARRANGEMENTS - Dominic Ferris
  • MUSIC PREPARATION - Richard Ihnatowicz and James Doughty
  • FINANCIAL CONTROLLER - Philip Machado
  • PRODUCER & GENERAL MANAGER - Kat Portman Smith for KPS Productions
  • PRODUCER - Robert J Sherman for Music World (UK) Ltd




SONGS 

SONGS

The following numbers from the Original Cast Recording all featured in the premiere production of Love Birds, with the exception of one bonus track, On Cloudy Days:

  • Prologue – John Guerrasio, Greg Castiglioni & Company
  • Mary Poppins – George Knapper, Ryan Willis, Jonny Purchase & Rafe Watts
  • Tinpanorama – Company
  • Sadie Macaw (Part 1) – Ryan Willis, Jonny Purchase, Rafe Watts & George Knapper
  • The Bird With The Broken Heart (Nobody Knows) – Ruth Betteridge (with Ryan Willis, Rafe Watts, Jonny Purchase & George Knapper)
  • Valentine – George Knapper (with Ryan Willis, Jonny Purchase & Rafe Watts)
  • Sadie Macaw (Part 2) – Rafe Watts, Ryan Willis, Jonny Purchase & George Knapper
  • Old Fashioned Guy – John Guerrasio & Greg Castiglioni
  • The Flipper Flap – Jonny Purchase (with George Knapper, Ryan Willis & Rafe Watts)
  • Old Fashioned Guy (Reprise) – John Guerrasio and Jonny Purchase (with Rafe Watts, Ryan Willis & George Knapper)
  • The Sharpest Smile – Anna Stolli
  • Paint a Rainbow – Joanna Sawyer (with Rafe Watts & Ryan Willis)
  • Crunchy Crackers – Greg Castiglioni
  • BONUS TRACK - On Cloudy Days – Ruth Betteridge
  • Love Birds – George Knapper, Ruth Betteridge & Company
  • Today Is Yesterday’s Tomorrow – John Guerrasio & Company
  • Love Birds (Finale) – Company

Additional Tracks

The following songs were cut for the Edinburgh run due to time constraints, but may be included for Love Birds' expanded, full-length version.

  • It's Your Birthday
  • Born to Butle
  • Who Murdered Vaudeville?
  • Dress for Success
  • Cock of the Walk
  • Dancing Shoes
  • Twelve Kinds of Ugly
  • Lady MacFussbudget (A Waltz)
  • Blimey, I'm Slimy (Over You!)
  • Chubby Cheeks
  • No Valentine

REVIEWS 

REVIEWS

Both the premiere production of Love Birds and its simultaneous Original Edinburgh Cast Recording have been highly critically acclaimed, receiving many five-star reviews. And, in The Stage’s wrap-up edition of the festival, Paul Vale declared Love Birds as his “Critic’s Pick” of the Fringe. Here are a selection of reviews, with many more and full links via the show website.

The Stage - ★★★★★

"This new musical from the pen of Robert J Sherman may be set resolutely in a bygone era but it's anything but stale or outdated. ... From the same team that devised A Spoonful Of Sherman at the St James last year, Love Birds has all the magic and invention that you'd hope to see from the Sherman dynasty, plus a few contemporary surprises too. Its classic backstage story is given a colourful, anthropomorphic interpretation that will undoubtedly appeal to kids as much as the catchy original score will have musical theatre buffs beaming from ear to ear. Stewart Nicholls' polished production boasts a gloriously quirky design from Gabriella Slade and an exceptionally talented cast including Ruth Betteridge and George Knapper as the star-crossed love birds and Greg Castiglioni, evidently relishing his role as a narcissistic, operatic macaw with a cracker habit. Verdict: A glorious reimagining of the vaudeville genre, that's thankfully not just for children."

Musical Theatre Review - ★★★★★

"Sherman keeps the spirit of his father and grandfather alive in a new family-friendly show packed with parrots, penguins and plenty of toe-tapping tunes... With its unapologetically catchy tunes, delivered by an unflappably talented cast, the show deserves to take flight…"

Daily Telegraph - ★★★★ 

"This has to be the most quackers show on the Fringe - a short, spirited new musical by Robert J Sherman that’s a real feather in his cap and should tickle all age groups... Catchy songs, colourful costumes, a very game (vocally assured) ensemble: all of this gives the Pleasance a soaraway feelgood hit"

UK Theatre World - ★★★★★ 

"With a superb cast this production never misses a beat and brought a real smile to my face and a bounce to my step - what a "trill" to see it! Behind the witty and punchy writing is a look at acceptance... they do not overplay it which could have happened in less accomplished hands. A genuine delight.”

The Public Reviews - ★★★★★

"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...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... 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."

Express Radio Scotland - ★★★★★ 

"A brand new musical with the makings of a classic... A humanist, heart-warming script sprinkled with fully-formed songs worthy of a Broadway stage... It may sound like a show for kids but it truly is a musical for all ages, which theatre fans will quickly take to their heart…"

Broadway Baby - ★★★★ 

"A cabaret full of birds falling in love with each other? Embrace the madness if you will, and your heart will certainly be warmed by Robert J. Sherman’s new musical Love Birds...The stellar ensemble collectively heighten the flamboyance of the music and design...Slade creates a West End standard of spectacle. Her attention to detail with the flamboyant costumes works well alongside Rob Mills’ lighting, bringing the story to new heights. Sherman’s melodic writing is incredibly catchy… The stellar ensemble collectively heighten the flamboyance of the music and design. Particular performers that should be mentioned are firstly Greg Castiglioni as Baalthazar. Vocally, his dramatic vibrato and range is enticing to hear, adding to his impeccable comic timing. The barbershop quartet, humorously consisting of the penguins from Mary Poppins, exude charisma with their facial expressions. The choreography is kept concise throughout without becoming overstaged, yet the characterisation from the quartet adds to the flamboyance of the production very nicely.”



GALLERY 

GALLERY

All Love Birds premiere production photography is by Steve Ullathorne.

VIDEO 

VIDEO

For more videos - including interviews with cast, rehearsal and performance clips from the premiere production of Love Birds - visit www.lovebirdsthemusical.com.


AUDIO 

AUDIO

Here are a selection of songs from the Love Birds Original Cast Recording, released by SimG Records. The full album is available to purchase - click here to buy. 

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