Thursday, July 18

Chicken – Traverse Theatre

Having nearly died in the egg, rescued and raised by a kindly Kerry couple, narrowly avoiding being whisked into an omelette and living ‘claw to beak’ in New York, Don Murphy gets his break. His bird-break. Into the business we call show, following a monumental orgy of Jameson with Michael Fassbender (That Don Murphy? No, he’s a human).

Keep up now, we’re talking one of the most determined, resourceful cocks to ever grace the cinematic wests of Ireland and the United States, but fame and success can have a downside. Three exhausting years of 16-hour day shoots leads to the inevitable glitch, a ketamine addiction resulting from a party hosted by evil LA-based Colin Farrell. That Colin Farrell?

Enjoyably surreal, entertainingly disarming, this was a true k-hole of a show, so quite what it was saying wasn’t clear. Which might have been the point. There were metaphors regarding the film and poultry industries, some blunt – accurate – references to England’s colonisation of Ireland but the riotous narrative seemed more intent on hitting marks and nailing laughs. Which it did well, Eva O’Connor’s performance burning with brio and intensity, enhanced by the make-up and a hilarious costume. In a fitting finale Don is back in Kerry shooting a Martin McDonagh movie, witnessing the true horror of a chicken ‘factory’: Chicken Run, of course.

Nitpicking aside it’s great that O’Connor and Hildegard Ryan continue to create things like this (check their CV). One may struggle to pin down a central theme or message but the world’s a richer place for it.

Playing until 20th April, https://www.traverse.co.uk/whats-on/event/chicken-spring-24

Reviewer: Roger Jacobs

Reviewed: 18th April 2024

North West End UK Rating:

Rating: 3 out of 5.
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