Melbourne Fringe: Three Birds, One Cock

Words - Rebecca Mery

Photo - Courtesy of Melbourne Fringe 2015

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What: Three Birds, One Cock

Where: 28 Dodds Street, 28 Dodds Street Southbank, 3006

When: 24 - 27 September

Who: Presented by FRISK

Cast/Creators: Madelaine Nunn, Anna Rodway, Candace Miles Designer: Lucy Wilkins Stage Manager: Jonas Anderson

I recall, after a particularly long Hitchcock binge during my teenage film-nerd years, wondering why so many of Hitchcock's female leads were blonde. By his own words, blondes apparently 'make the best victims'. The statement's slight creepiness is a slow-burner to reveal itself, but it does (kind of like the twist in Psycho). Why DO all those beautiful blondes have to die such grizzly deaths?

Three Birds, One Cock is a VCA production, and one-seventh of FRISK – a season of new works presented as part of the Melbourne Fringe Festival. It sees three of Hitchcock's blondes find themselves in a room with a dead body – a blonde like them, her hair the only thing peeking out of the sack she's been placed in. 

Marion Crane of iconic Psycho fame, Melanie Daniels of The Birds, and Vertigo's Madeleine must attempt to figure out how they came to be trapped with a dead body, who could have killed her, and whether they themselves might be capable of murder. Of course, they might very well already be dead. 

Fans of Hitchcock will definitely get a kick out of Three Birds, One Cock. The production pays homage to the cinematic master by way of jump cuts, a cinematic score, and lighting that goes from the everyday to the strikingly dramatic. 

References to the inflections of speech, acting styles and themes of the era's film also result in a number of humourous moments. Indeed, there's a delightful amount of dark humour to Three Birds, One Cock – along with suspense and surreal splashes of gore. Madelaine Nunn as Marion Crane was particularly enjoyable, although all three actresses and creators of the project – Nunn, Anna Rodway and Candace Miles – were great as their respective Hitchcock sirens.

Three Birds, One Cock approaches Hitch and our preoccupation with dark and grizzly deaths with a self-aware sense of humour. As the three women on stage point out – via a song – blondes are much prettier when dead than whatever male protagonist might be in the film. 

Side note: I rode home and re-watched Psycho