by David Harrower
February-March 2014 – Tower Mill Theatre, Heart of Hawick; Heriot Watt/Borders College, Galashiels; Summerhall, Edinburgh
Fifteen years ago Ray and Una had an illicit relationship. She was 12, he was 40. They haven’t set eyes on each other since. Now years later she’s found him again…
Neither condoning nor condemning, David Harrower’s most celebrated and controversial play won the 2006 Laurence Olivier Award and has been acclaimed as the most powerful and dramatic two-hander since David Mamet’s Oleanna.
Director Richard Baron explains his innovative approach to this modern classic: “Like most theatre companies, Firebrand have to be inventive with limited resources and we were excited to realise that as Blackbird is set in a claustrophobic, litter-strewn staff room it could work brilliantly in a number of readymade environments. In this way, we could not only afford our passionate ambition to produce it but actually reveal its qualities even more powerfully by performing in these intimate non-theatre spaces.
Each of the small venues we have chosen for our tour is very different – from the modern office room at Hawick to the The Space at Heriot Watt, Borders College, Galashiels, and the richly characterful Victorian Demonstration Room at Summerhall, Edinburgh. Each in its own way reinforces and illuminates different aspects of this taboo-breaking play and particularly the theme of the audience member as both jury and voyeur.”
The production was named CRITICS CHOICE by Joyce McMillan in The Scotsman
“Kudos to the Borders-based Firebrand Theatre Company whose rediscovery of classic Scottish plays hasn’t seen them shy away from difficult work. Baron’s direction is assured … Greg Wagland gives a strong performance … and Romana Abercromby is great in a role which requires pathos, humour, vulnerability and wafer thin sexual confidence.” 4**** The Scotsman
“Tense, powerful and riveting drama… Just in its third year, Firebrand is a young company with big ambitions. Performances like those in Blackbird fully cement their growing reputation.” 4**** EdinburghGuide
“Great revival of David Harrower’s Blackbird by Firebrand. Dynamic performances.” Allan Radcliffe, The Times, on Twitter
“Flawlessly well-performed … an outstanding performance – the kind of production which makes it impossible to imagine the play in anyone else’s hands. Firebrand’s reputation preceded them to Edinburgh, and it’s clear that reputation is very much deserved.” Rating: OUTSTANDING, Edinburgh49
“Blackbird looks more troublingly relevant than ever in Richard Baron’s unflinching production” 4**** The Herald