Pheasant Plucker, Lily Bevan’s debut solo show, is a comedic collage of the quirky characters her protagonist meets on a journey of self-realisation. She is a bird handler, and on the day that she gives up waiting for her bird to fly home, she decides to go on her own adventure to London. She wants to do the things that people in London do, like Time Out and Groupon. Because they’ve got their lives sorted, those people in London (cue rapturous pained laughter from the audience).
Bevan swoops on and off the stage with various additions and subtractions to her costume, and seamless alterations to her character. She moves between a yoga teacher, a therapist (including a hilarious walkthrough of her family via Sylvanian Families), a palm reader, a vegan nutritionist and a posh student studying for an MA. Each character is fully embodied, and as memorable and delightful as the last. They bear less of an impression on our protagonist however, and she woefully longs to return home to her bird.
It’s a funny, whirlwind of a show, supported by Luke Courtier on the guitar providing musical interludes akin in lyric, delivery and aesthetic to Flight of the Concords. The strength of their relationship is in being storytellers together, so a moment in which they find fleeting romance jars a little, primarily because they had stepped out as allies and do not proceed to explore the romance further.
The purpose of the show’s relation to the ‘Pheasant Plucker’ song (“I’m not a pheasant plucker I’m a pheasant plucker’s son” etc.) is a little unclear, however when the audience sing it altogether, the suspense in waiting for someone to say “Pleasant Fucker” is tantalising. The show defies too much analysis, really, and so much can be gained from simply enjoying Bevan’s bright, enigmatic performance.
Bevan does return home to her bird, and he returns home to her. It’s an odd little romance, with a sweet underlying message about being ready for a relationship when you are comfortable in yourself. But again, the joy of this show is not in thinking about it too much. It is in watching a female comedian who is comfortable in her craft lead us through some truly solid – if slightly bonkers – entertainment.