After being entranced by the award-winning Middle Child’s All We Ever Wanted Was Everything at the Bush Theatre last year, I didn’t hesitate in catching their latest show The Canary and the Crow. Telling the story of a young working-class black kid who is accepted into a prestigious grammar school on a scholarship. It’s innovative and pulsating gig theatre that electrifies this story.
This semi-biographical piece written and performed by Daniel Ward infuses grime, hip-hop and theatre to bring this story to life. Performed in the Roundabout theatre in Summerhall, you are completely immersed into his world.
Struggling with his identity, Daniel is thrown into completely new surroundings and is trying to fit in whilst not losing what made him who is his today. Constantly trying to break stereotypes and feel accepted, Daniel’s frustration is played out through vibrant storytelling.
Setting the scene from the first beat, the atmosphere is electric. Inspired by a poem, The Canary and the Crow portrays what happens when two worlds collide. With Nigel Taylor on the decks creating the beating heart of the show, Laurie Jamieson and Rachel Barnes add conflict on the cellos.
It’s funny – really funny, as we meet the brilliantly over-stereotyped posh kids with names like ‘Tarquin’ who play rugby instead of football and are fascinated by Daniel’s life. These clashes are hilarious yet cut deep as they show that distinct divide and the isolation Daniel feels. He is trying to please everyone, but struggles to fit in and starts to question who he really is.
Through the humour and exhilarating music, there are powerful moments of clarity. Daniel Ward portrays his confident and determined personality whilst not shying away from his moments of vulnerability. His final monologue has strength and ties up the meaning of the show into eye-opening perspective.
It’s a thrilling, dynamic performance that sheds real light on how segregating white spaces really are. It’s important, honest theatre about racism and classism that packs a real punch.
The Canary and The Crow is on at Edinburgh Fringe at Summerhall at 19:50.