Review: Mobile

Mobile is one of those highly imaginative plays that you want to get lost inside more than once. Talking household appliances and dreams of space travel are all part of the show. Once the play really starts and the nine members of the audience climb into the caravan there is a complete immersion to be experienced in the words of the solo performer, supported by inventive uses of tech and film, as well as the talking appliances, naturally.

The most tangible thing about this very ethereal play is its theme. Created out of improvisation, The Paper Birds riff on themes of social mobility and what it means to children to “succeed” in ways their parents never could. For example going to university, or moving from working class to middle class by suddenly making a lot of money. At times this theme drives the play down a dark route. At one point a mash-up of TV shows from Nick Clegg blatantly lying about class mobility when the coalition first formed; to people winning The X Factor and Who Wants to be a Millionaire? and expecting this to change their lives forever. Somehow this film collage becomes deeply haunting within the context of the caravan.

However, the production doesn’t frame social mobility as an entirely negative thing. Instead it aims to explore the subject; looking at how alienation and a sense of achievement can coexist, how new ways of life can be absorbed.

Wrapping all of this up is the story of Helen Sharman – the first British astronaut, who moved through the class system herself. There was just enough revealed about her in the play to make me want to come away and do some research on her at home. I was surprised that I’d never heard of her before the play. With Tim Peake up there right now, people seem to have forgotten that the first British astronaut was a woman.

By Sarah Gonnet (Live Theatre guest blogger)


Until Sunday 26 June join us for the World Premiere of The Paper Birds new show Mobile. Step inside an ordinary looking caravan and see a treasure trove of magic and digital wizardry. Where the kettle talks, cupboards open to reveal pop up worlds and the whole caravan is transformed into our solar system.

Mobile is an intimate 40 minute show for nine people at a time. It’s the first show commissioned for Live Garden our new garden and outdoor performance space recently completed as part of our Live Works development. Presented by The Paper Birds, Mobile has its World Premiere at Live Theatre from Wednesday 8 to Sunday 26 June (Except on Friday 17 June, when Mobile goes to Blackhall Community Centre and Thursday 23 June  to Greenhills Centre, Wheatley Hill, on, both in County Durham) before going on a national tour. Find out more.

Tickets cost £10 & £8 full price and £8 & £6 concessions. To book tickets and to find out more visit www.live.org.uk or contact Live Theatre’s Box Office on (0191) 232 1232.