Lancashire Times
Weekend Edition
Julia Pattison
Theatre Correspondent
1:00 AM 21st April 2023


Harvey Badger Eddie Ahrens Rachel Hammond Hannah Baker 
© Robling Photography
Harvey Badger Eddie Ahrens Rachel Hammond Hannah Baker © Robling Photography
It’s charismatic Artistic Director Marianne McNamara’s 20th year with Mikron, and she’s a steady hand on the tiller of this innovative and ever enthusiastic Theatre Company.

Mikron has ridden the storm of Lockdown, and have deservedly been successful in securing funds for the next three years, and are bursting with new, exciting ideas to bring quality theatre to our doorsteps.

So, it was with soaring spirits that the all new cast this year, Hannah Baker, Harvey Badger, Eddie Ahrens and Rachel Hammond launched themselves into the first of two brand new shows for 2023, Twitchers.

All credit to writer Poppy Hollman for distilling 134 years of RSPB history into two 45-minute acts; time just flew, and it was amazing what you learnt about birds in general, as well as the stalwart work of the RSPB over the years.

(L-R)Hannah Baker Eddie Ahrens Harvey Badger Rachel Hammond.
© Robling Photography
(L-R)Hannah Baker Eddie Ahrens Harvey Badger Rachel Hammond. © Robling Photography
Her witty and informative script was brought to life by the four multi-talented young actor- musicians with mesmerising individual and ensemble pieces, particularly the joyous, varied musical numbers (composed by Amal El-Sawad and directed and arranged by Rebekah Hughes. ) I loved the simple, yet effective use of props and suggestions of costumes, such as long black opera gloves to create specific birds – you let your imagination fly as the actors morphed into various birds before your very eyes.

As always, Director Marianne brought out the very best in her cast, who played avian and human roles with aplomb. Just loved the running narrative from Rooks Barry and Freda, and was in a 'Fever' over the Boom Bird scene, and bowled over by the brilliant Dam Busters vignette.

Harvey Badger Hannah Baker Rachel © Robling Photography
Harvey Badger Hannah Baker Rachel © Robling Photography
Rachel gave a hilarious portrayal of larger-than-life Twitcher, Raucous Reggie, and was spot on with her physicality in the role, and comic timing. She stole the show as over-bearing Mayor Fiona, whose scheming ways were thwarted by the collective efforts of some brassed- off birds on the Strikewing Reserve-I laughed till my sides ached!

Plenty of issues raised about man’s thoughtlessness, and greed and the effect this is having on the number of native bird species now under threat, along with the horrors of river and lake pollution. Once again though, in keeping with Mikron’s style, you never felt dictated to, just motivated to try to do more to do your bit to protect our wildlife and the eco system- every little helps.

I loved all of the songs, with the opening number of the second half of the show Bird Table Glee being an absolute triumph; there was a rich variety of music styles as each flock of birds presented their tales- we were giggling all the way from heron in! Fabulous harmonies from the cast, as well as assured playing of a variety of instruments, with careful thought given to the staging of every musical number, and convincing characters, made this a joyous night’s entertainment.

Grab a ticket for Twitchers while you can, you won’t 'egret it.

Twitchers was on at Billingley Village Hall, Barnsley and it is touring in the UK until Sunday 3rd September 2023.

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