The House with Chicken Legs

“It's a magical journey to the stars"

Based on the novel by Sophie Anderson, The House with Chicken Legs is a wonderful family entertainment show. With clever design and special effects it’s a magical journey to the stars. 

This story is wonderfully brought to life and we spend 2 hours following 12 year old Marinka (Eve De Lyon Allen) who lives with their grandmother Baba (Lisa Howard) who is a Yaga; a guardian of the gate between living and dead. She helps those who have died pass back into the stars from which they came. The house they live in has chicken legs which can sprout from beneath it at any time and transport them anywhere in the world they are needed. This means there is never opportunity throughout Marinka’s life to make any lasting relationships and as time goes on all she wants in this world is to lead a ‘normal’ life with normal friends. 

There are some delightful songs featured over the course of the evening, in particular Marinka singing about wanting to fit in hits some beautiful emotional points. 

The first half of the show sets the scene for us, showcasing the wonderful set design from Jasmine Swan. The scene where we get to see the house moving on from one place to another is fun and delighted children and adults throughout the audience. Though some of the scene changes felt long, due to the large set pieces that required movement, this did mean the pace of the first act felt slow. 

The second act is where this story really comes into it’s own, with a loud colourful opening and high stakes action taking place it would have been nice if the whole show had this pace and level of interest. 

Stephanie Levi-John gives a fantastic performance as Tatiana, a Yaga full of heart and sass. She’s a delight to watch and 

Samuel Wyer has done a wonderful job of the costume design with several beautiful pieces being featured. The costumes of the ‘dead’ feel simple yet stunning with their intricate details. 

The entire cast shine on the stage, each an actor-muso meaning we get to experience the joy of hearing them playing some wonderful instruments. 

This is a lovely adaptation of the story that is loved by many the world over. It’s the perfect show to take children to if you’re looking for a non-festive alternative at this time of year.

This show was reviewed on the 15th December 2023.  The House with Chicken Legs runs at the Queen Elizabeth Hall at the Southbank Centre until the 30th December 2023.  Tickets available here: The House with Chicken Legs (southbankcentre.co.uk)

Review written by Rosie Browne

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Photo credit: Rah Petherbridge / Andrew AB Photography

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