Theater review: Stupid F**king Bird at the Magnetic Theatre

Samantha Le Brocq and Dwight Chiles are in the cast of Stupid F**king Bird  from Mountain Art Theatre and the Magnetic Theatre. Photo by Rodney Smith/Tempus Fugit Design
Samantha Le Brocq and Dwight Chiles are in the cast of Stupid F**king Bird from Mountain Art Theatre and the Magnetic Theatre. Photo by Rodney Smith/Tempus Fugit Design

A certain profane word is all over the place in the dark comedy Stupid F**king Bird from Mountain Art Theatre and The Magnetic Theatre. It’s adapted by Aaron Posner from the Anton Chekhov classic The Seagull and is onstage through Saturday, May 6.

Beyond the title, the f-bomb is painted in big letters on one side of the Magnetic Theatre’s 375 Depot St. location, across from a fine likeness of the Russian playwright Chekhov. The word pops up good many times in the dialogue and is attached to the name of each actor and crew member in the playbill.

But you can get past that — and the house was full on opening night, so clearly there are plenty of people who don’t mind contributing to the swear jar — Stupid F**king Bird delivers a gripping story of lost souls looking for some human connection.

None of the seven characters are happy when the show opens. Some of them never will be. Director Henry Williamson III gets some sizzling performances from a great cast that combines talents from both the Magnetic and Mountain Art organizations. The best advice here is to hold on tightly and be prepared for a wild ride. At its essence, this bunch is mostly seeking romance with other characters from the script, but not finding that sentiment returned.

The lovable but slightly dim Dev (Dwight Chiles) has his eyes on the ukulele strumming Mash (Samantha LeBrocq), who is intent on landing the young, fiery playwright Con (Allen T. Law). But Con is nuts for his muse, the not-so-talented actress Nina (Josephine Thomas) who is pulled toward the accomplished writer Trig (David Anthony Yeates). The trouble is that he is also the desire of the established actress Emma (Tracey Johnston Crum), who is also Con’s mother.

And then there is the physician Dr. Sorn (Steve Samuels), who is just plain depressed.

They are all together in a house when this cross-connected love mess explodes, little by little, until some of these folks are almost at each other’s throats. As the disturbed playwright Con, Law gives a stirring performance as he struggles to forge a relationship with Nina, to no avail.  The character goes so far as to break the fourth wall and ask the audience what to do. There are some interesting answers there. Meanwhile, Johnston-Crum, who has starred for seven years in the Magnetic’s holiday production The Bernstein Family Christmas Spectacular, turns on the power as Emma, who will not let anyone keep her from finding love with Trig.

It makes for some riveting theater to see how it all turns out. And, every one of these players get a chance to shine, which they all do. For those who are wondering, yes there is a seagull — and several gunshots, so be prepared.

WHAT: Stupid F**ing Bird by Mountain Art Theatre in association with The Magnetic Theatre

WHERE: The Magnetic Theatre, 375 Depot St., themagnetictheatre.org

WHEN: Through Saturday, May 6. Thursdays-Saturdays, 7:30 p.m. $16/$10 student rush tickets available 15 minutes before curtain with valid ID

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About Tony Kiss
Tony Kiss covers brewing news for the Xpress. He has been reporting on the Carolina beer scene since 1994. He's also covered distilling and cider making and spent 30 years reporting on area entertainment. Follow me @BeerguyTK

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