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First Published 10 April 2014, Last Updated 6 August 2014

What’s it all about?

Following his adaptation of The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time, Olivier Award-winning playwright Simon Stephens is back with a bleak look at fame and celebrity.

The always impeccable Andrew Scott stars as a megalomaniac rock star in the final throes of a world tour, the return to his lowly beginnings in London a world away from the excesses of room service – hot and cold tempura cod roe or rabbit with hot apple jelly anyone? – and sexual escapades served with a side of cruelty and bile. As the final gig approaches, a series of events caused by his own manipulative hand sees him sink further into some form of psychosis.

Who’s in it?

Scott is supported by a talented ensemble who play supporting characters that revolve around singer Paul like planets around a sun; it may burn but they just can’t keep away. Nikki Amuka-Bird brings a fresh innocence to proceedings as a hotel worker who finds herself seduced by Paul’s sporadic desire for normality, while Yolanda Kettle is tasked with playing a series of caricatures from a trustafarian with an A-Level in hair-flicking to a gum chewing groupie.

As the magnetic draw at the centre, I’d bet money on Stephens having written the role of Paul for Scott who, in clothes of varying shininess – the man can pull off patent, leather and glitter at the same time, a rare feat – is utterly believable as a rock star. The Sherlock actor is magnificent as the vapid and shallow performer teetering on the edge of insanity, his extraordinary unpredictability as a performer keeping the audience on their toes.

What should I look out for?

Much like a rock star bored in a hotel room with a television at his disposal, Stephens and director Carrie Cracknell have thrown realism out the window, so expect hallucinogenic visions, acid bright colours, strobe lighting and a show-stopping watery design by Ian MacNeil.

Who was in the press night crowd?

We spotted Olivier Award nominee Cush Jumbo chatting in the bar beforehand, Royal Court writers Alexi Kaye Campbell and Polly Stenham in the stalls, and the more unexpected Gary and Danielle Lineker.

In a nutshell?

Andrew Scott is a born rock star in Simon Stephens’ bleak surrealist piece that brings an essence of German theatricality to Sloane Square.

What’s being said on Twitter?

@CHIMPSINSOCKS Sublime. Wonderful. Bleak. Touching. Inspired. Devastating. Impeccable. And Andrew. Go see this. Now! #Birdland @royalcourt @StephensSimon

@vickster51 #Birdland = an exciting play & Andrew Scott is superb playing dark, scared, dangerous, playful, cruel, emotional, emotionless & so much more

Will I like it?

If you’re an Andrew Scott fan, you’d likely be happy to watch him in anything, and he owns this role. Fans of realism and scene changes that don’t involve characters throwing shapes to techno may not find what they’re looking for, but push out of your comfort zone and you’ll find no better exploration of the price you pay for selling your soul for the perfect peach on a silver platter. That way danger lies.


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We are now cancelling all performances up until and including 31 May 2020 to help us process existing bookings whilst we wait for further clarity from the government in terms of when we will be able to reopen.

We are so sorry that in these testing and difficult times you are not able to enjoy the show you have booked for and hope the following helps clarify next steps in respect of your tickets .

There is nothing that you need to do if your performance has been cancelled, but we do ask for your patience.

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We are processing in strict date order of performance, so you are likely to be contacted after the date you were due to go to the theatre. However, we want to reassure you that you will be contacted, and your order will be processed, but please do bear with us.

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In order for us to serve our audiences the best we can, please do not get in touch with your point of sale if you have booked for performances after 31 May. Please be reassured that if we have to cancel future performances you will be directly contacted by your theatre or ticket provider. Our producers continue to plan for all eventualities dependent on the individual needs of their shows and we will provide further updates on specific shows as and when they become available.

We look forward to welcoming you back into our theatres as soon as we are allowed to resume performances. In the meantime stay safe and healthy.