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Love Birds premiered at the 2015 Edinburgh Fringe Festival to critical acclaim. An original musical with book, music & lyrics by Robert J. Sherman, this fantastical story takes place during the 'Age of Vaudville' and centres around a quartet of penguins and a trio of parrots who sing and dance in a one-of-a-kind, all-avian revue.

According to The Stage, Love Birds has "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, while Broadway World stated, "Everything about this musical screams 'West End Transfer!'".

Following the show's success in Edinburgh, Sherman and director Stewart Nicholls embarked on creating a full length version of the musical, ahead of plans for a hopeful London premiere.  

For additional information about Love Birds, including extensive interviews with Robert Sherman, the premiere cast and creative team, visit the Love Birds Official Website at



Love Birds takes place in 1923, during the Age of Vaudeville. The story centres around a quartet of penguins (Parker, Presley, 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.

When the show's temperamental star, an Italian, opera-singing macaw (Baalthazar) succumbs to an addiction to "Crunchy Crackers", it threatens to close down the show forever. 


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. 



  • Armitage Shanks (aka “The Loch Ness Monster”) - A 65 million-year-old plesiosaur, Armitage Shanks is a Vaudeville impresario who emcees a unique, all-avian revue called, "Love Birds".
  • Baalthazar Macaw - Sometimes billed as “The Feathered Caruso”, Baalthazar is an opportunistic, self-centered male diva parrot whose weakness for crackers proves to be his downfall.  

  • Vera - One of the singing "Macaw Sisters", Vera is the oldest of the trio.  Secretly she is in Love with Armitage but he doesn’t seem to notice.
  • Veronica - The “Marilyn Monroe” of the trio, Veronica is particularly impressionable, a fact not lost on Baalthazar Macaw.
  • Valentine - The youngest of the Macaw Sisters, Valentine is an innocent who must quickly learn the hard lessons of life.   

  • Parker - A born leader.  The other penguins in the barbershop quartet naturally follow his direction.
  • Presley - The “Elvis” of the four penguins, a streak of rebellion runs through his veins.
  • Pewcey - More fastidious than your average penguin, Pewcey has a tendency toward gossip.
  • Puck – The youngest of the quartet, Puck is sometimes outspoken.  There is a naivety about him which endears him to the other characters. 




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


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

  • BOOK, MUSIC & LYRICS - Robert J. Sherman
  • DIRECTOR & CHOREOGRAPHER - Stewart Nicholls
  • MUSICAL DIRECTOR - Neil McDonald
  • DESIGNER - Gabriella Slade
  • SOUND DESIGNER - Andy Hinton


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
  • PHOTOGRAPHER - Claire Bilyard
  • SOCIAL MEDIA - Terri Paddock
  • GRAPHIC DESIGNER - Rebecca Pitt
  • MUSIC PREPARATION - Richard Ihnatowicz and James Doughty
  • PRODUCER & GENERAL MANAGER - Kat Portman Smith for KPS Productions
  • PRODUCER - Robert J Sherman for Music World (UK) Ltd



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



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.”



All Love Birds premiere production photography is by Steve Ullathorne.



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



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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