The Canary and the Crow @ Arcola Theatre*

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Tickets and more information:
Booking until: 8th February 2020
Run time: 1hr 15mins
Production photos by: The Other Richard

After winning critical acclaim with runs at the Brighton Fringe and the Edinburgh Fringe, Daniel Ward’s fantastic piece The Canary and the Crow has finally been given a full run in London. I missed the performances in Stratford that happened last year but I am so glad to have caught this truly incredible piece. As stated at the start of the show, the piece was written as an answer to when a famous black actor asked the BAME students at his drama school what it was like being BAME in, what is predominantly, a space dominated by white people. In the piece, the main character Bird (played by Daniel Ward) is a black kid from a working class background who has been accepted into a prestigious grammar school. The piece then discusses what it’s like to be the ‘other’ in predominantly white spaces.

As soon as you enter the auditorium, you are greeted with the pulse inducing sound of the music written by Prez 96 and James Frewer. The score is frequently like this throughout but there are some moments where the music is tender and really highlights the Canary and the Crow metaphor running throughout. This includes mixing grime music with opera which, sounds ridiculous on paper, but it works incredibly well here.

The Canary and the Crow Edinbrugh Festival Fringe 2019

The Canary and the Crow Edinburgh 2019 Writer – Daniel Ward Director – Paul Smith Co-composer – Prez 96 Co-composer and Musical Director – James Frewer Designer – Natalie Young Lighting Designer – Jess Addinall Movement Director – Ryan Harston Artistic Associate – Matthew May Cast Rachel Barnes, Laurie Jamieson, Nigel Taylor, Danie Ward ©The Other Richard

The audience are in the capable hands of Daniel Ward who drives the play at full speed. Impeccable writing, balancing the comedic with the dramatic as well as giving an incredible performance. Supporting him are Nigel Taylor (aka Prez 96), Rachel Barnes and Laurie Jamieson who are all fantastic in the production too.

This show is sure to ruffle some white feathers, but why not do so? There have been far too many stories portrayed on British theatre stages where, if you do not fit a specific mold then you are looked at or treated as ‘other’. What this play does is actually put front and centre what it is like for those who are treated as ‘other’. And those stories need telling more often.

Until next time,



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