Griffin Theatre’s “The Birds” Review – Transport to Post-Apocalyptic Nightmare

he Birds-(left to right) Jodi Kingsley and Keith Neagle in Griffin Theatre Company’s Chicago premiere of THE BIRDS by Conor McPherson, based on the short story by Daphne du Maurier and directed by Kevin Kingston.


If you have been enjoying the lively bird songs of spring and summer, be forewarned that after living a short 90 minutes or so in the dystopian world of Griffin Theatre’s “The Birds” you may be thinking more of flying rats and flying dinosaurs than of melodious feathered friends.



Adapted by Conor McPherson from the same Daphne du Maurier short story that inspired Alfred Hitchcock’s movie of the same name, Griffin Theatre’s “The Birds” totally succeeds at giving you the creeps in just a few minutes after the curtain rises.  You’ll keep this almost nauseous feeling throughout, sharing the experience with the play’s characters of being a proto-meal for a swarm of menacing birds.



Ultimately, this is less a tale of how the out-of-control birds that are terrorizing and eliminating the human race come to prevail and more about the terrors of human nature stripped bare. 


In du Maurier’s tale we are one heckuva scary species.  A one-time novelist (Jodi Kingsley), a one-time mental patient (Keith Neagle), and what appears to be a wild teen (Emily Nichelson) are thrown together in one very claustrophobic room trying to survive.  



Kindness has a short half-life in these surrounds, or more precisely, the selfishness at its core is laid bare.  



Kevin Kingston’s direction of this most able cast is without flaw. 



Although it’s a small part, David Krajecki’s nuanced portrayal of a scary and lonely neighbor is so spot on that he is able to inject another shot of terror in your heart just when you were beginning to relax a tad in this dystopian nightmare.   


It doesn’t matter if you’ve seen and remember the Hitchcock movie—Griffin’s production makes the story fresh.


Now through July 19 at Theater Wit, 1229 West Belmont, Chicago.


For tickets or information call the Theater Wit box office at 773 975 8150 or visit the Griffin Theatre website.




Photos:  Michael Brosilow

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