Plucked (Newborn Theatre) 2016 Summerworks Review

Plucked-400x600The one thought running through my head after seeing Plucked at The Theatre Centre’s Mainspace was: “That was beautifully f***ed up.” Plucked is being put on by Newborn Theatre as part of Summerworks 2016, and it’s a surreal, funny, and deeply disturbing dissection of gender and the oppression of women by our patriarchal society.

When plays venture into abstraction, I often find they can stray and lose much of their message. This is not the case with Plucked. Be prepared to do a lot of thinking while you’re watching this show, because it’s always clear what the playwright (Rachel Ganz) is trying to tell you, and she has a lot to say.

Plucked is beautifully written, and it shows us a complex, layered, absurdist plot about women being farmed for their “eggs” as “chicken-women” by oppressive, hateful, and ignorant men. It uses its absurdist humour to ease the audience into some very dark, twisted metaphors about women’s oppression.

The performances in this play were incredible. Each actor brought something special to the table, and each had a moment to shine. I was impressed by Qianna MacGilchrist as “Fourteen,” struggling, mostly alone, against the abusive men on her farm. Her mother, played by Sochi Fried, was a frustrating, deeply tragic character. Her father and abuser, Jerry (played by Tim Walker), stole all of his scenes. Walker started the show as an amusing buffoon, but soon became a horrific tyrant. His turn from funny and stupid to just plain scary really resonated with me.

Tim Machin (actor and music director) played “Rooster,” who narrated the show with a banjo in hand. Rooster’s narration is biased towards the men, and his presence helps to build atmosphere. The character’s prejudice is entwined with the narration, an essential part of the script, and we see it influence how the story is being told. Sometimes the whole cast would join in to sing with Rooster, and it produced some very memorable moments.

The set and lighting were simple, and they did everything they needed to. I was impressed by the way the actors maneuvered through the space, making the small-ish theatre feel very large, thanks to some fantastic direction from Carly Chamberlain.

As a guy reviewing this show, I really wish that my friend hadn’t cancelled on me this evening (though it totally wasn’t her fault!). I would really have appreciated a woman’s opinion in writing this. Still, Plucked really made me reflect on the systemic oppression of women, and I believe that this isn’t just a great show, it’s an important show as well.


Show times:

  • Friday August 5th. 5:15 PM – 6:45 PM
  • Saturday August 6th, 1:00 PM – 2:30 PM
  • Sunday August 7th, 9:15 PM – 10:45 PM
  • Tuesday August 9th, 7:45 PM – 9:15 PM
  • Wednesday August 10th, 4:00 PM – 5:30 PM
  • Friday August 12th, 5:00 PM – 6:30 PM
  • Sunday August 14th, 6:00PM-7:30PM

Individual SummerWorks tickets are $15 at the door (cash only). Live Art Series ticket prices vary. Tickets are available online at, by phone at 416-320-5779 and in person at the SummerWorks Central Box Office – located at Factory Theatre (125 Bathurst St). Open August 2-14 from 10am-7pm. Cash and credit accepted. (Advance tickets are $15 + service fee)

Several money-saving passes are available if you plan to see at least 3 shows.

Image provided by SummerWorks.