September 13 2011

***** Five stars

There's something both unsettling and comfortingly familiar about junk ensemble's Bird With Boy. After taking Five Ways to Drown into the theatre, the company have returned to the installation format, this time in the dank basement of Kilmainham Gaol, where the audience witnesses short movement sequences in cells, hallways and alcoves. There is a constant sense of incompleteness as the viewer is shunted from one vignette to another, sometimes only catching a fleeting glance at a boy talking in a window or walking away from a duet that doesn't quite seem finished.

The illusive is at the heart of choreographer Megan and Jessica Kennedy's craft - both in concept and execution - whether the unreliability of memories or, in this case, the notion of premature or unexpected endings. In spite of its promenade setting, Bird With Boy is tightly constructed with a focussed choice of material and a limited palette of references that constantly reappear, like birds, snow and the boys.

As in past works, a unison dance provides a resolution of sorts. Here the performers were paired up in a courtly sequence in the prison yard, culminating with the boys running with abandonment out of sight and into the night.

Michael Seaver