Toy Plastic Chicken
- Lorna Irvine
- 15 May 2019
Tense true life story from Uma Nada-Rajah
If Uma Nada-Rajah's play seems absolutely absurd, the kind of thing parodied by Chris Morris in his 'Brass Eye' days, it's only because it's rooted in the truth. Rachel (Neshla Caplan) a wide-eyed party goer heading to Istanbul, is detained by officious airport security staff when her toy chicken is deemed 'suspicious'.
Said staff, hard-bitten Emma (Anna Russell Martin) and jobsworth Ross (David James Kirkwood) must find a reason to keep Rachel in their clutches when they realise the toy isn't actually any kind of incendiary device, or face disciplinary action.
So begins a verbal game of cat and mouse ,with the plastic rooster thrown in for bad measure, and an awkward triangle of accusations and anger becomes explosive as Emma's own secrets are exposed.
Paul Brotherston brings superb direction, and all three shine (particularly the exasperated and vulnerable Caplan) but the play itself becomes uneven, falling between uncomfortable satire, rom-com and thriller, yet not certain in any genre.
It's still a fine story, and one which resonates in these days where we're all permanently under surveillance, and walking on eggshells.
Traverse Theatre, until Sat 18 May.