Growing up is never easy and trying to deal with the issues surrounding you at school and home is challenging no matter how ‘normal’ your family is. But what is normal? Chicken Shop, written by Anna Jordan and directed by Jemma Gross, looks at how we deal with coming of age and the family dynamic.
Hendrix (Jesse Rutherford) is 16 and struggling with teenage life – his mum (Angela Bull) doesn’t understand him and he’s being bullied because his mum and her new lover Katie (Milly Reeves) were a bit too intimate in the IKEA car park.
Luminita (Lucy Roslyn) came to London to be a dancer, but has become trapped into working as a prostitute for abusive pimp Leko (John Last). When Hendrix decides to tackle his sexual frustration by visiting a prostitute, he and Luminita form an unlikely relationship.
Renowned for theatre productions that challenge the actors and the audience, Epsilon Productions have yet again come up trumps. Anna Jordan’s Chicken Shop manages to be poignant and funny at the same time. The story itself is thought-provoking and sad as you can’t help but feel sorry for each character (apart from Leko) and relate to them in some way.
Acting is strong from each cast member, with a particularly excellent performance from Lucy Roslyn. Her beautiful fragility shows true vulnerability and fear, but there’s a real hidden feistiness inside. Her relationship with Jesse Rutherford is believable and touching, which makes it all the more shocking when she forcibly takes his virginity, in one of the most disturbing scenes I’ve ever seen in a play.
Chicken Shop reminds us that sex trafficking is a reality most of us know very little about. It also shows that blood is thicker than water and that we will risk hurting others in order to protect those that we love.
It’s passionate, moving and leaves your mind shocked by what you have witnessed. But it’s also, to quote Katie, “amaze balls”.
Reviewed by Michaela Clement-Hayes
Chicken Shop plays at the Park Theatre until 28 September. Click here for tickets.