New York | 1h 30m | Already closed

The Birds

From 15 critic and 12 member reviews
Members say: Disappointing, Slow, Overrated, Confusing, Excruciating

About the show

BirdLand Theatre presents Tony-nominated playwright Conor McPherson's adaptation of Daphne du Maurier's short story, which was also the basis for Alfred Hitchcock's legendary film. Part of Origin’s 1st Irish Festival. More…

In an isolated house, strangers Nat and Diane take shelter from relentless masses of mad attacking birds. The temporary sanctuary, however, provides little comfort, and when another refugee arrives with news of the outside world, paranoia takes hold of this makeshift fortress. A gripping and emotional look at human relationships in the face of societal collapse.


"While many people may recall the 1963 Alfred Hitchcock horror movie by the same name, this play is a standout, a thriller in its own right with intriguing characters, intense dialogue and its own suspenseful storyline. Performed in an intimate theatre space, the play features excellent staging and a talented cast. It will keep you on the edge of your seat...'The Birds' is a stark and compelling view of human desperation in the face of dire circumstances." Full Review


"Dzeparoski has selected a compelling script that's well suited to the three company members...The three actors handle with aplomb the challenges of performing in the round...This physical intimacy draws the spectator especially near...and it heightens the production's sense of apocalyptic horror to an unsettling degree...McPherson's new, triangular narrative reflects the fragmented fears of latter-day perils such as random acts of terrorism, climate change, and emergent viruses." Full Review

Exeunt Magazine

"Audiences with a taste for suspense and psychological turmoil will find much to enjoy...The three actors do excellent work to place their characters on the precarious edge between communal strength and psychological turmoil...But the experience frequently suffers as a result of the seating arrangement...The tight, shared space accentuates the play’s themes nicely, but in this case doing so comes at a cost of audience experience." Full Review


“In Konstantin Roth’s scenic design, the audience sits in the four corners of the tiny black box at 59E59 Theaters with the action taking place in front and around them. As a result the audience is extremely close to the action. Unfortunately, director Dzeparoski has the actors give very broad performances which seem rather hammy up close. Ien DeNio’s sound design includes the intermittent cawing of the birds and their attacks on the window and the walls but are not heard often en... Full Review

Off Off Online

"Naumovski is excellent as the troubled hero...LaVecchia assumes the most rational role and yet at the end she proves ruthless; and Hutchinson-Shaw invests the high-spirited Julia with both immaturity and deceit. Dzeparoski keeps the atmosphere dark...But the director also tacks on a wordless coda that muddles the ending..Still, if you attend without the expectation of screaming, you’ll find this character study fascinating and unsettling." Full Review

Theatre is Easy

"If you’re looking for a stage adaption of the suspense-driven movie, you won’t find a trace of it here. That’s both a plus and a minus. The plus is that this version is much more thought-provoking. But what it gains in intellectual stimulation it loses in creepiness and suspense...The strongest element in the production is Antoinette LaVecchia’s brilliant performance. She prevents the play from devolving into hysteria with her cool-headed commitment to survive." Full Review

Front Row Center

"It was not clear where characters were going to, or coming from, when they exited or entered the stage. Several important plot points rest on those distinctions. Although the actors do a good job of portraying the frustration, fear, mistrust and occasional boredom of their situation, because the lack of visual cues, the tension of the continuing menace is simply not there. The play becomes an intellectual exercise rather than a visceral experience in fear and empathy." Full Review

Stage Buddy

"The staging is hell-bent on claustrophobia and assisted in the main by visual and audio effects...Some of the effects are distracting...The actors are at their best in the celebratory or confrontational scenes where the effects are absent or minimal. McPherson is a master of his craft and with this play, the able-bodied text dictates simplicity. This is a flawed production that nevertheless possesses moments of genuinely affecting suspense." Full Review

Theater Pizzazz

"In compressing the novelette into a three-character play...McPherson eliminates much of du Maurier’s deeper insights, failing to create a crescendo of horror and dread. This oversight yields 'The Birds' curiously bland...McPherson’s text may be problematic, but the choices made in this production of the play hinder rather than enhance. BirdLand Theater’s 'The Birds' isn’t exactly for the birds, but only narrowly skirts laying an egg." Full Review

The New York Times

"A listless production...As directed by Stefan Dzeparoski, this interpretation from the Toronto-based Birdland Theater generates nary a ripple of suspense...The subliminal dread that Mr. McPherson elicits so hauntingly in his other works remains buried deep here, failing to surface even when characters threateningly pick up hammers...The sum effect suggests Rod Serling, the creator of the 'Twilight Zone' series, unhappily moonlighting as a soap opera scenarist." Full Review


"Dzeparoski's production comes off as neither sexy nor scary, two things that it desperately wants to be (despite the appearance of both full-frontal nudity and hazy fog effects to attempt to set the mood on both ends). Similarly, the acting is strangely detached throughout...The lack of tension isn't their entire fault though; it's not very present in McPherson's script, either. 'The Birds' simply stays caged, when it really needs is to take flight." Full Review

Time Out New York

"Even a brilliant playwright can have an off day, but this NYC premiere is so shabbily conceived and executed, it’s hard to know where to place the blame...This humorless, generic script feels like a first draft, halfway to a screenplay, not delving enough into the characters’ twisted emotions...Any weaknesses in the text are severely exacerbated by Stefan Dzeparoski’s clunky, low-budget, barely designed production. The actors struggle valiantly." Full Review

Theatre Reviews Limited

"It is probable that Mr. McPherson’s adaptation might be chilling in a post-September 11, 2011 world; unfortunately, it is difficult to make that determination based on this Birdland production...The problem with Mr. Dzeparoski’s staging is that it leaves the audience unmoved, unconcerned about any of the characters under attack in the abandoned house...The lack of success of this production lies squarely at the feet of the director, whose vision of McPherson’s script remains a mystery." Full Review

Carey Purcell

"The premise of 'The Birds' offers a great opportunity to explore environmental and political conflict, examining the collapse of the environment and the economy, but, under Stefan Dzeparoski’s direction, any kind of conflict is disappointingly tepid. Rather than an exploration of the impact of a contemporary apocalypse, the play presents a weak love triangle…While the 'The Birds' certainly presents claustrophobia, misguided symbolism and boredom are also served in equal doses." Full Review

The Hollywood Reporter

"Irish playwright Conor McPherson bleeds out all suspense and transforms it into a soporific meditation on the psyches of post-apocalyptic survivors. Long before the seemingly endless play wraps up, you'll be wishing the damn birds would finish the job already...The play plods from one numbingly dull scene to the next, displaying none of the playwright's usual gift for evoking tension. As if aware of how little there is to work with, director Stefan Dzeparoski resorts to mild shock tactics." Full Review

Disappointing, Thought-provoking, Great acting, Slow, Overrated

See it if You want to see some really good acting and don't mind not fully fleshed out characters.

Don't see it if You are expecting scary or a play of the famous film "The Birds." If you can't stand nudity on stage or excessive use of fog.

Also This seemed like a workshop of a play. The actors did amazing with wha... Read more Read less

Great acting, Disappointing, Slow

See it if you enjoy immersive theater; good acting; don't expect anything like Hitchcock's film of the same name; you support 59E59 Theater.

Don't see it if you are easily bored; are put off by gratuitous nudity which adds nothing much to the show; thought Hitchcock's film was awful; hate birds.

Also Wish they had done more with the birds aspect; needed a more scary aur... Read more Read less

Quirky, Disappointing, Confusing, Not suspenseful

See it if you want drama about human interactions during catastrophes & not about birds (other than some mild sound effects they are basically missing

Don't see it if you are expecting Hitchcock suspense, or McPherson's natural monologues -the ones at the end seem contrived, just to give the play a plot

Thought-provoking, Slow, Disappointing

See it if like ambiguous shows that give much to think and talk about after the show. Fine acting. Wordy dramas that strive to be different,

Don't see it if you are expecting anything close to the movie. Resolutions. Bothered by male nudity, extreme use of fog machines.

Also An interesting play, up to a point. The author never seems to have dec... Read more Read less

Banal, Confusing, Disappointing

See it if You have absolutely nothing else to do

Don't see it if You enjoy innovating theater with good writing and interesting dialog

Disappointing, Slow, Boring, Unconvincing, Pretentious

See it if you like Conor McPherson so much that you even want to see his plays that don't work.

Don't see it if you have anything more exciting to do with 90 minutes of your life - theater or otherwise.

Disappointing, Excruciating, Indulgent, Overrated, Slow

See it if You need to see every version of The Birds ! You need to see all off off Broadway shows. You don't care about the quality of shows you see.

Don't see it if You are offended by actors performing in the nude literally in front of your face ! You don't like shows that drag and use repetitive dialog

Dull, Disappointing, Excruciating, Insipid, Slow

See it if you have a lot of extra time on your hands. Or if you want to see what Colin McPherson creates on an off-day.

Don't see it if you have other options. This one is truly a dud. Why did the folks at 59E59 even consider this mess for production?

Ambitious, Great acting, Slow, Disappointing, Edgy

See it if You want to see three actors give it all they have. They did the very best they could with the material at hand. Note: There are no birds.

Don't see it if You expect anything like Hitchcock's classic. Sadly, I felt neither threat nor terror from the phantom birds.

Ambitious, Disappointing, Overrated

See it if You like post-apocalyptic stories

Don't see it if You want fully engaging performances

During previews
Slow, Thought-provoking, Visually inventive, Mildly scary, Ok

See it if you are curious about this adaptation about the apocalypse in progress with somewhat sympathetic characters. Physical/spiritual survival?

Don't see it if you expect a thrilling and suspenseful night at the theater. It's less than advertised.

During previews
Confusing, Disappointing, Edgy, Excruciating, Quirky

See it if You have never seen an avant garde show in a small black space with weird lighting effects and plotline you've seen better. And a naked man

Don't see it if you have a delusion that this is anything like Hitchcock. It was so non-suspenseful--I couldn't stop checking my watch.

Cast & Creatives (11)