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.
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.
"This new musical from the pen of Robert J Sherman may be set resolutely in a bygone era but it's anything but stale or outdated.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."
"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…"
"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"
"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.”
"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."
"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…"
"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.”
For more videos - including interviews with cast, rehearsal and performance clips from the premiere production of Love Birds - visit www.lovebirdsthemusical.com.
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.