Featured Image: Rebekah Parsons as Emily and Tyler Dias as Warren.

With WorldPride upon us, the Fruit Box Theatre is presenting the culmination of its RIPE Development Program at KXT Kings Cross, in association with bAKEHOUSE Theatre.

Scripts from this creative and workshopped program are being presented over the next few WorldPride weeks. Back to Birdy, from the pen of skilful writer Z Bui is being premiered during the Fruit Box Season as a staged reading.

The intensities and shifts in understanding  throughout this work’s substantial monologues, firecracker dialogue and continued spntaneous flashbacks do not suffer from the script-in-hand approach.

Back to Birdy is a searching, layered piece. It deserves a full staged production to bring all its confrontational grittiness and elastic treatment of time to magical life.

This vibrant reading event featuring six actors from the RIPE Development Program’s workshop troupe was enhanced by some select props and appropriate sound or lighting effects. A lot of the creation of moments during the read scenes owe much to the performers’ use of precise focussed movement, pacing of material and some nice variety in the collective well-graded vocal delivery.

The past is a tricky place for us all. Who of us wouldn’t cherish the chance to give an enduring hug to our younger selves, letting them know there are always challenges, but things gradually get better.

Who also wouldn’t benefit from a clear replay of pivotal moments in their development,  friendship history and the shifting tapestry of queer social life to help explain our current strengths and weaknesses. Maybe an attempt to change past conversations could even be possible. This piece of stage time-travel lets us encounter the uncomfortable need for filling in gaps, to edit past exchanges or supply now seen to be needed unsaid utterances.

Using the often popular filmic technique of sudden flashback, Z Bui’s script includes the almost-forgotten, the unseen, or the joint experience processed with past emotional blindness by one or more friends.He maintains momentum in this play by measured but dynamic use of six actors to explore the past and present.

Two close school and university friends meet after some breakdown in contact. Emily and Warren discuss their romantic and physical relationships with others, gossip about mutual acquaintences.  They also chat a lot about Warren’s transition with the range of reactions to it  swirling with some difficulty around what should be an easier,  new happiness.


What begins as a tense but much needed tete-a-tete or reconnect expands into a savage, detailed  review of years past. Out of the edge of the stage emerges the emotional, super-sensitive and busy attitudes or hurts from  characters depicting the pair of friends in younger days.

Z Bui’s script is full of nuanced banter, which this staged reading brings to volatile life. Sensations from fondness recollectiion  through to raw anger, disappointment, confusion, and damage are voiced with changing tempo and dynamics in satisfying performances. Damage, detritus and the wishes in vain  that  things had been different or never happened ebb and flow in this meeting of the two friends

Rebekah Parsons as Emily emarks on the roller coaster ride of someone currently unhappy and blind to some of Warren’s history of pain or discomfort.  During time-rewinds and onstage replays which she even tries to amend by coaching the past her, this acting contains physicality and reading performance which constantly switches energy with ease. Shifts in anxiety levels, defensiveness and tone are exemplary during her beer-drinking duet with Warren.

Tyler Dias gives us an engaging older-soul, experience-enriched, huge-hearted calm display of strengths and fragilities various. An adept tracing of the ups and downs in the longterm friendship and a careful guiding of the discussion with Emily after a break in contact is masterful in its gentle delivery. From this performer there are subtle shifts in pace, in vocal or facial expressions. degrees of frustration levels are nicely conveyed in accent or body language from the mostly seated position.

Hadrian Conyngham as Past Warren delivers a range of heartbreaking youthful confusions and unspoken words. The past character repeatedly emerges employing excellent physical covering  of the stage and evocative vocal colour. CJ as Past Emily performs with a vibrantly verve. Past Emily is a close match to the energies, flippancies and personality traits of the older Emily working through the angsty rendez-vous with Warren.

The play’s time shifts-especially in this staged-reading guise, would not succeed without a similar calibre of performance between the Past and Present friends, or a traceable emotional trajectory between the pairs. This casting, good workshopping and solid preparation has paid off here. The additional characterisations of extra people in the past and present are accurately and enthusiastically drawn by Rachel Seeto and Kayla-Rose De Sousa.

Fruit Box Theatre is currently presenting new work which is fantastic food for our collective WorldPride thought. The works, including Back to Birdy as a stage reading are very worthy of exposure at this time.

The intelligent analysis and modern queer theatre accent of Fruit Box Theatre speaks to us in challenging but necessary terms. This staged reading and other plays enjoying full production combine to encourage more detailed listening between members of the queer community and productive discussion between all people in the future.

Tickets to Fruit Box Theatre -In Season during WorldPride can be purchased at: