The co-director of Chicken Palace is hoping to lure people into her immersive play at Theatre Royal Stratford East with a fast food favourite – chicken and chips (veggie options also available).
It seems like any other night when you first step into Singh’s Chicken Palace, but things soon take a turn to the darker side and no one knows who they can trust – with people’s worst prejudices emerging.
Described as a “thought-provoking social satire meets comic thriller” codirector and writer Lynette Linton, from Leytonstone admits mixing a comedy and a thriller within one production was a bold move.
She said: “You kind of have to watch it to get how it works. It starts with a comedy, for about the first 20 minutes and then there’s an incident that means the characters are stuck in the shop together – they start to expect someone inside is involved and it brings stereotypical attitudes out.
“By the end of the play you forget that you were laughing at all at the beginning. I liked the comedy side to bring people into the narrative though.”
Lynette says not only did she want to draw people in through comedy, she offered the chicken and chips as a universal welcoming to people who may not feel theatre is for them.
She said: “A lot of people I grew up with don’t go to theatre or feel it’s for them. Having studied Shakespeare I fell into it realising it’s for everyone – a lot of people from east London don’t feel like that.
“So I thought presenting this storyline in a chicken shop – and providing the food – would make it more relatable for more people as chicken shops are universally recognisable.”
The play is set in the former Caribbean Scene across the square from the Theatre Royal Stratford East, which Lynette says they have decked out to be as realistic as possible.
Chicken Palace, Theatre Royal Stratford East, Wednesday, Aug 19 to Sat, August 22, 7pm and 9pm, £10 to £12, stratfordeast.com