The House with Chicken Legs is a heart-warming coming-of-age story adapted for the stage by Oliver Lansley.
The play is a twist on the well-known Russian folktale of Baba Yaga, who tries to consume a young girl. Though this story takes a pleasant turn where Baba (Lisa Howard) tries to teach her granddaughter Marinka (Eve De Leon Allen) the ways of the Yaga, which is to guide souls from the living world to the next.
The cast is small, which makes the play feel very intimate, and the cast interacts with the audience to make moments in the play more effective.
Eve De Leon Allen is the only cast member that plays one character, with David Fallon, Péola Congo, Matthew Burns and Keshini Misha playing multiple characters – a fun way to make the play feel even more intimate.
They change accents depending on who they are playing, and they are award-worthy.
By using cast members as the house’s emotions, they also humanise the house. I haven’t seen a house alive since watching Disney’s Encanto, and that’s what this play reminded me of.
The house is the focus of the set design. The transitions of the set designs are smooth and gentle with the music playing a part in the transitions, which makes them feel shorter.
The cast also occasionally help with the movement of the props which would look natural within their character’s directions.
Another use of props are the Russian dolls that help tell the smaller stories within the play. Instead of using traditional puppets, using Russian dolls brings a nice variation to keep the Russian theme weaving throughout the play.
The live music is definitely a highlight of this production.
The songs are written by Alexander Wolfe and Oliver Langsley, and the cast members play multiple instruments throughout the whole play.
There are a good few moments where I was close to tears. The story doesn’t just focus on the Yaga lifestyle, but personal choice and wanting to have control of your own destiny.
If this play was to be a film, Disney would be the first film company to pick it up. It is a family friendly play, and there were many children in the audience. It is a perfect event to enjoy with family during any time of the week, or even a date with a loved one.
It’s a gentle, soul-warming story that makes you want a house with chicken legs.
The House with Chicken Legs is at Home until Saturday 23rd April 2022. Tickets are available here.