Strangers face the chaos as The Birds fly in to terrorise

The Birds at The Place, Bedford.
The Birds at The Place, Bedford.

Nightmare images of a Hitchcock film will come to the fore when the Swan Theatre Company presents The Birds in Bedford.

The play by Conor McPherson is running at The Place Theatre, Bedford from Wednesday, September 24 until Saturday, September 27 at 8pm.

The nightmare images of Hitchcock’s 1963 film are most likely to come to mind when The Birds is mentioned, but McPherson’s stage adaptation of Daphne du Maurier’s classic short story delves deeply into an equally mysterious and unexplained world in which a writer is trying to understand the enveloping chaos.

Swan Theatre Company’s new production is set in an isolated lakeside house where relative strangers Nat and Diane are seeking refuge from the feathered creatures that are killing all around them. The electricity is down, supplies are diminishing fast and the gulls rise, ritualistically, with the tides.

The claustrophobia and fear of all that is happening in the outside world leads to relationships becoming ever more paranoid, complicated further by the arrival of young woman Julia. Diane attempts to manage the crisis and make sense of it all through her writing, whilst Nat and Julia turn to each other for comfort.

Du Maurier’s original story is heavy with cold war atmosphere and Hitchcock’s Californian version bristles with psychosexual tension. Here, the impending implosion of the characters’ intensified situation is heightened by the realisation that they have spent so much time building walls between people and worlds (real and imagined), and the effect that this has on relationships.

Diane’s later contemplations illustrate the struggle between controlling the

circumstances through words on a page and dominating the reality with violent force.

Dark and haunting, this is a thriller and a love story. As the nights close in on us, Swan’s season opener reaffirms the power of our strongest feelings – fear and the need to survive.

Tickets for The Birds are available online www.theplacetheatre.org.uk/tickets

and www.swantheatrecompany.com, and from Bedford Central Box Office on 01234 718112.

>> Artist Tracey Harvey. who designed the poster image for the production, will be exhibiting during the play’s run at The Place.

Scruffy Bird is the title of the work on the poster and a percentage from the sales will be donated to MIND.