Chauntecleer and Pertelotte (3 stars)

This article is from 2009.

Chauntecleer and Pertelotte

Bestiality and poultry fornication make for unexpectedly fun viewing

Chicken sex is perhaps a rather unlikely subject matter for a play but writer Dougie Blaxland somehow manages to make the idea seem realistic in Chauntecleer and Pertelotte, though some may find graphic descriptions of coital relations between humans and poultry unpalatable. A bawdy Chaucerian romp, this highly physical and inventive production – nominated for Best Show at the Brighton Fringe – is presented in the form of a children’s fable but it’s anything but a cautionary tale for kids.

Told entirely in verse, the play depicts randy cockerel Chauntecleer seducing Pertelotte, a hen to whom he is devoted until he encounters a desperately unsatisfied farmer’s wife. From its slightly shaky beginnings to its revengeful end, Tim Dewberry and Abigail Unwin-Smith charge about the stage with a relentless sexual energy that leaves them drenched in sweat, and their accomplished switching between many animal and human roles is this production’s greatest success.

The silliness of Blaxland’s verse occasionally tests the patience of the audience, but once settled into the rhythm of its rude, rhyming pitter-patter, it’s hard not to get behind this loveable and completely ridiculous play.

Zoo Southside, 662 6892, until 31 Aug, 6.30pm, £8 (£6).

Chauntecleer and Pertelotte (A Beasty-Babel-Fable)

  • 3 stars

Inspired by the Canterbury Tales, and written in verse and a rich pastiche of Chaucer’s English, this sex-storming farmyard romp blends earthy humour, breathtaking physical comedy, and verbal dexterity. Telling the tale of a pair of naughty chickens, Chauntecleer and Pertelotte employs outrageous and sometimes bawdy…

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