28th May – 27th June, 2021
The 2021 Brighton Fringe is seeing a return to attending the live performance, which after a year of quarantine will bring joy to many. Offering an abundance of shows to scroll through and plan for. ‘Sparkly bird’ was for me a happy return to the theatre that has been sorely missed. For the welcome performance of ‘Sparkly bird’ I was excited. The Brighton Fringe is well known around the globe as a pioneering shining light for theatrical events. The show got down to business beginning quickly straight into Kat Lee’s written and directed eulogy of a dear ones suicide.
‘Sparkly bird’ was a musical, theatrical, dance and screen compilation that had the life and death of Suzanna Reine at heart who took her own life in 2004 at the tender age of 36.
The venue was for a smartly personalised dressed presentation with long drapes for movie footage and had the band in a row. The acts had specially segregated themes to give tribute to Suzanna whose feelings were brought back to life. A trapeze hung in the heart of the stage where we were treated to dancing and acrobatics of our two dances by Catherin Ben Abbes, and Miz Wells.
Kat lee-Ryan’s sad times show presented the story through compassion so honestly made with joy in the heart produced by the well known; Bad Times Sound, We went through everything with Kat in her examination of Suzanna unfolding many points of view also raising compelling points with the power of music, dance and screen behind it. She sang of the painful disbelief that sudden loss always has.
With the face of Suzanna in a portrait shaped camera angle it took hold of us with an expression of pain and being overcome. The dance of the two was of her aloneness as she danced in solo but then joined in partnership with someone who held her as she fell and as she fainted.
The narration came at important moments with Simon Goodman who offered spoken insights of the tale; he would repeatedly and at intervals read out loud from his clip board dressed in a fine looking smoking jacket, though he was on her side. Kat Lee’s emotions in the development of her profound connection with the phases of the music going from deep upsetting grief to tune’s playing the sweetest and most playful song of memories when life felt complete.
The air of respect and roaring tenderness clasped the hands of Suzanna’s story and her journey. Following her around the many act performance was an enriching walk through the taste and truth of her life with attention grabbing capable vocals, commanding and sure.
These are two lines of Suzanna’s ups and downs on top of the world to being way down in desolation and blackness; “I think I’m superman…up in my room.” Where “…sometimes it all falls down.” A beautiful recollection of a so short life appreciated as a wonderful show and in the most appropriate way brought to our attention the grievous world of suicide. The reddish glow of light, the darker stages, the in-between surreal moments caught by camera coupled with spangly costumes made this sparkly bird a vision to enjoy, this was the highest tribute ever.
Reviewer: Daniel Donnelly