Magpie’s Murmur, written and directed by Susanne Colleary, is a surreal fairy tale audio play, which explores trust and confidence against a backdrop of rich and intricate sound effects and a bizarre and original story of friendship and encounters with strangers.
Ren (Orla McSharry) is the expectant mother of Baba who lives in a ramshackle dwelling in the woods. Mag (Isabel Claffey) spots her and points her out to Bee (Sandra O’Malley) who then invades Ren’s home and mind with talk of health and safety, responsibility and welfare, before offering a number of solutions. But this Emperor’s New Clothes style tale teaches Ren that not everything or everyone is as they seem, and the best person to keep her and Baba safe, is probably Ren herself.
Haunting singing throughout the piece pairs with repeated refrains of dialogue which emphasise the fairy tale genre of this piece. The sound effects in the piece are excellent, many of them created by the actors vocally, which gives emotion to birds and the donkey, and gives a sense of magic to the world and animals living in it. Bee’s whip creates a sense of terror and underlines her villainous nature.
Claffey’s performance is very good as the emotional Mag. Her relationship with O’Malley is also good as she cowers before her presence before recovering her strength of character whenever Bee leaves. McSharry’s portrayal as the pregnant mother is enjoyable as she reluctantly puts her trust into Bee and keeps up a constant dialogue with her unborn child.
Murmur explores what it means to put your trust in someone else, particularly when you have other responsibilities. There are some moments of genuine peril which make you care about this strange world and the people in it. Making fun of the corporate world and the, often mistaken, confidence we have in corporations, this old fashioned fairy tale says a lot about today’s world.
Murmur is being streamed by Camden Fringe until 22nd August 2021. Tickets are available here https://camden.ssboxoffice.com/events/murmur/
Reviewer: Donna M Day
Reviewed: 20th August 2021
North West End UK Rating: ★★★