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Edinburgh Fringe 2023


Sunday’s Child

Genre: Absurd Theatre, Dark Comedy, Satire

Venue: Summerhall


Low Down

Sunday’s Child brings their new absurdist satiric play Chicken.


A chicken enters an unassuming room, bent knees and a staggered walk, flapping wings, sharp neck movements and an intense stare. The grandiose and sparkling costume and headpiece make the entrance a spectacle, evoking royalty more than poultry. The chicken walks around the central round stage while engagingly delivering a monologue. 

Chicken tells the story of Don, a proud Irish free range cockerel that goes to New York to become an actor, where he will meet humans and birds. After a skyrocketing rise to fame, activist birds will show him that being famous isn’t everything and that the bird genocide that is the meat industry must be stopped. The play explores different kinds of oppression and power imbalances, both in the entertainment and meat industry, using Don as a metaphor for a newcomer in Hollywood and also very realistically exploring its role as a chicken in a human dominated world. It’s an absurdist satire that switches between what is possible and what never could be. 

The story starts engaging but it becomes long and predictable. It was also very difficult to decode the tone of the play. The one woman intense and seriously delivered monologues are akin to Shakespeare, but its juxtaposition with the absurdist story and characters doesn’t materialise successfully. The audience is many times left confused and wondering if they should laugh or cry. The jokes don’t often land and the meaning of the message is diminished by the absurdity of a majestic chicken given a self-serious monologue. The concept is ambitious and enticing but it needs to be clearer. 

This is in no part due to the performance of Eva O’Connor. She is a fierce presence on stage, delivering the monologues with unflinching stares to the audience and bringing distinctive characters to live with impeccable accents. Eva becomes a Glaswegian pigeon, an English feasant, a Southern chicken and many Irish and American celebrities with uncanny realness. Her command of the stage and the audience is masterful, even if the overall tone is difficult to understand. 

Chicken is a unique and ambitious satire that perhaps tries to do too much. Regardless, it’s a bold piece that brings important topics to light in a humorous and intriguing way.