At first sight of Eva O’Connor in the Summerhall basement, she is no longer human. She pecks and flaps the wings of her costume, slowly zoning in on the audience with wide eyes, as if about to launch into some profound and enigmatic performance art. But that’s not what Chicken is – and thank God for that, O’Connor mockingly affirms. No, this is the story of a young Irish rooster going out into the big bad world and learning some hard truths along the way.
As our titular chicken relays their journey to super-stardom, we travel from Ireland to New York, with anecdotes about playing Jesus in the nativity, landing a role with Michael Fassbender and developing a ket addiction thanks to Colin Farrell along the way. There are multiple voices that are introduced across this hero’s tale, from a Glaswegian pigeon to a seedy NYC agent and with each character, O’Connor seamlessly slips in and out, anchored by the identity of the charismatic, determined chicken.
Written by O’Connor and Hildegard Ryan, Chicken is all-out comedic storytelling which provides plenty of moments of hilarity from start to finish. But in its examination of otherness, even if the ‘Other’ in this case is an Irish rooster sickened by the hypocrisy that surrounds him, it offers an allegory of the complexities of belonging. The narration contains real heart thanks to the strength of both script and performance, and in the end, you can’t help but unwittingly root for this drug-addicted celebrity chicken.