Sign up for our weekly newsletter

Ex-Batts and Broilers


Haste Theatre
Assembly Rooms
to

Providing a literal birds-eye view of the world, Ex-Batts and Broilers is a story about chickens.

Gail and Gemma (Jesse Dupré and Sophie Taylor) are chickens. They have an important story to tell. And it’s not just any story, it’s their story, told by the birds complete with “backflashes”, monologues, singing and even a spot of Zumba. We are taught about cage pooping etiquette, how they keep themselves entertained and how they met. This is the story of their friendship.

These two talented performers merrily bounce around the stage, in many ways a traditional double act, playing with status, mocking each other and competing for the love of the audience. And it is a competition, as part of their peacocking (wrong animal I know) is to win a vote at the end of the show. A vote that decides which of them gets to attend Jimmy’s 60th birthday, their human rescuer, their friend.

It’s absurd and frequently funny but poignant too, easy to forget these vibrant likeable personalities began their lives in battery farms until memories begin to seep into the narrative and we learn of poor Graham’s industrial demise. Due to the largely upbeat script with a carefree, almost childish tone, these moments noticeably undercut the merriment, providing a firm grounding to the fun and games.

The story tumbles out of these two characters but the spontaneity is carefully measured, the direction deceptively detailed. Highly entertaining but leaving a lingering aftertaste, Ex-Batts and Broilers is another physical and expressive piece of theatre from Haste. It’s not easy being a chicken, but these “chicky babies” cope the best that they can.

Reviewer: Amy Yorston