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  The Birds at Theater Wit

The Birds

Theater Wit
1229 W Belmont Ave Chicago

The Birds is a suspenseful, atmospheric adaptation of Daphne du Maurier's enthralling short story, also the inspiration for Alfred Hitchcock's chilling 1963 film thriller. Mysterious masses of birds have begun to violently attack at high tide, driving strangers Nat and Diane to take refuge in an isolated, abandoned house by the sea and form a bond to survive their haunting new circumstance. With no electricity and scarce food, the tension is palpable and hope is waning. Yet if two is company, three is a crowd, as the sudden arrival of a young woman with a mysterious nature of her own ruffles feathers in the house and quickly threatens to destroy their so-called sanctuary.

Presented by Griffin Theatre Company

Thru - Jul 19, 2015

Price: $35

Show Type: Drama

Box Office: 773-975-8150

Running Time: 1hr, 30mins

  The Birds Reviews
  • Highly Recommended
  • Recommended
  • Somewhat Recommended
  • Not Recommended

Chicago Tribune - Somewhat Recommended

"...The main problem here, I think, is the lack of a discernible change in the characters as time passes. Instead of going from camping out gamely to clawing out each other's eyes, these folks seem mostly to wander through the show, with things getting a bit worse and a tad more stressful, but not worse or more stressful enough. This is, for goodness sake, a play about the end of the world, wherein winged creatures have gone ballistic. And so have the humans."
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Chris Jones

Chicago Sun Times - Somewhat Recommended

"...McPherson's 2009 adaptation, now receiving a Griffin Theatre production directed by Kevin Kingston, is set in rural New England in a time described as "the near future." It hints of some combination of catastrophe brought on by human failing and perhaps larger ecological screw-ups. But what kept coming to mind during a viewing this past weekend were the current headlines, and the terror experienced by locals in the upstate New York community where two convicted murderers recently escaped from prison and have yet to be caught."
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Hedy Weiss

Gapers Block - Somewhat Recommended

"...There's a lot of great interpersonal conflict here, and the twists and turns of the power structure within the barricaded cabin are well executed. Emily Nichelson's performance as a late addition to the trio packs a lot of suspense, skillfully keeping her loyalties and her angle mysterious, navigating a fairly bombastic character arc without resorting to melodrama. The Birds, the play, may not possess the crazy special-effects action of the film version, but there is more than enough psychological drama to keep the intrigue palpable."
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Jake Marcks

Stage and Cinema - Recommended

"...This is not Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds, a 1963 horror fest about being pecked to death and delighting in Tippi Hedrin and Suzanne Pleshette’s contagious distress. It’s also not Hell in a Handbag’s recently revived The Birds: For all its ingenious thrills that campy creation was hobbled by a kill-joy Camille Paglia who drily commented on the mayhem. No, surprisingly tender considering its irascible Irish playwright, Conor McPherson’s 95-minute version of Daphne du Maurier’s anti-avian short story is more intrigued by the psychology of survival than in special effects or social commentary."
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Lawrence Bommer

ChicagoCritic - Somewhat Recommended

"...Lacking here is any sense of terror as we see that the birds are contained outside and the group still has some food. They don't seem to be worried about impending doom; there is no sense of urgency. The characters don't seem to change as they plod through their survival rituals in a matter-of-fact optimistic manner. The lack of emotional involvement by the characters of any extreme gives this apocalyptic story a dull numbing atmosphere. I'm still waiting birds to attack. The actors did fine with what they had to work with. I don't think director Kevin Kingdton created enough tension, suspense and sense of doom to sustain this story."
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Tom Williams

Chicago Stage Standard - Somewhat Recommended

"...You can't blame Griffin for running with McPherson's dramatic devices. Much creative energy has clearly been poured into The Birds, especially on the technical side. McPherson's unfortunate insistence on exposition is like holes in this production's roof; what gets in tends to spoil the mood. Despite its reputation, horror is built on accessibility and restraint. For while Diane's point that "you can do whatever you want" is a given, the implication that perhaps you shouldn't also holds true."

Kevin Greene

Around The Town Chicago - Somewhat Recommended

"...Over the years, I have been quite impressed by the work of the Griffin Theatre Company. I know that they have earned countless Jeff Awards for their work, but I have to say that their newest production , the Chicago Premiere of “The Birds” is one that might have been exactly that, for the birds. While the set is wonderful (Greg Pinsoneault) and the direction smooth (Kevin Kingston), it is probably the script (Conor McPherson) that I found lacking. The actors were powerful, but the story appears to have lost its way with me."
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Alan Bresloff

Chicago Theatre Review - Somewhat Recommended

"...Irish playwright Conor McPherson, known for such psychological thrillers as "The Weir" and "Shining City," freely adapted Daphne du Maurier's short story into this one-act play that, despite its avian title, is really a story about man's inhumanity to man. Griffin Theatre Company's production, while interesting, thought-provoking and features fine acting, never really achieves a mounting terror or sense of defenselessness. Like both Alfred Hitchcock's classic film and the short story that inspired it, the dilemma is never resolved, but the story stands as an examination of how people react under adverse conditions and how alliances develop for the purpose of survival."
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Colin Douglas

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