As the Crow Flies

Hattie Naylor's charming play, As The Crow Flies, with music and lyrics by Dom Coyote, continued its national tour at Trowbridge Arts, after its initial run at Salisbury Playhouse.

The excellent production, by Pentabus Rural Theatre Company, in conjunction with Salisbury Playhouse, is directed by Elizabeth Freestone. It has a simple, absorbing plot, highly accomplished cast of three, and superb costume design. Tom Brownlee is brilliant as Alfie, the crow whose broken wing heals gradually as he shares the home of Beth, a sad, lonely divorcee, played by Natalia Campbell.

Singer and guitarist Imelda Warren-Green is an almost constant presence, depicting Beth in earlier, happier years. and reflecting inner thoughts of the woman who feels marginalised and uncertain.

Alfie, initially agitated and fearful of Beth's efforts to help him, slowly becomes more confident and appreciative of her kindness after she rejects a vet's suggestion that he has no future. His birdlike persona is amazing.

Beth regains a sense of self-worth as she cares for the crow, although she interacts impatiently by phone with her well-meaning sister and a local resident urging her to give a talk about caring for a crow.

Can Beth shed the baggage of her past to embrace single lifestyle in the village community, or should she retreat to anonymity in the city? It is a dilemma she finds hard to resolve, and she wonders if a bird sanctuary would care for Alfie, if she moves away.

Despite a destructive storm and news of Alfie's apparent demise, the play has a startling seque that signals new hope for humans and birds. This production, with design by Carla Goodman, is an absolute delight. After leaving Wiltshire, the tour visits six other counties and ends on April 30.