Chicken Curry a little undercooked

(From far left) Dawn Teo, Chang Ting Wei and Andy Pang star in Chicken Curry, part of Toy Factory Productions' The Wright Stuff platform for new playwrights.
(From far left) Dawn Teo, Chang Ting Wei and Andy Pang star in Chicken Curry, part of Toy Factory Productions' The Wright Stuff platform for new playwrights.PHOTO: TOY FACTORY PRODUCTIONS

REVIEW / THEATRE

CHICKEN CURRY

Toy Factory Productions

17A Smith Street/ Thursday

Chicken Curry has all the right ingredients for a good play, but needs more time to stew.

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The one-hour runtime is too short for its three storylines to release their flavour. There is the realistic tale of a young woman (Dawn Teo) failing to learn to cook in time to feed her dying mother (Chang Ting Wei).

There is a manic revision of the same story. Two chickens offer flashbacks and forward momentum by pushing the daughter to cook in time for the funeral rites.

  • BOOK IT / CHICKEN CURRY


    WHERE: 17A Smith Street

    WHEN: Today, 8pm

    ADMISSION: $20 from www.toyfactory.com.sg

Finally, there is the underdeveloped world of cells gone mad, as the mother's body is destroyed by cancer and chemotherapy.

All roles are played by three actors, including Andy Pang as the stoic father.

Pang is capable as a crazed cell, a comic chicken and a father who can show his true emotion only by insisting his wife and daughter drink more water to stay healthy.

Chang stands out as the mother. She looks more sickly as the cancer progresses. When it is time to play the chicken, she glows with comic vitality.

Teo's character needs more development. At present, the daughter is a cardboard cut-out, without the quirks of the father or tenderness of the mother. She does not change from start to finish and neither does her relationship with either parent.

Some of the stage directions fail to serve this play, directed by Stanley Seah. The stage blacks out when the daughter learns of her mother's death. It may indicate the shadow that falls on life when a parent is lost. It robs the actors of a chance to emote.

Tan Jia Yee's script is the second presented under Toy Factory Productions' The Wright Stuff, a platform for debut playwrights and emerging directors.

She draws on personal experience to put together a tale about love, loss, grieving and maturity. They are present in the text, but still raw, not yet blending together to make an ending that will satisfy.

Just a little more processing is required.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 29, 2017, with the headline 'Chicken Curry a little undercooked'. Print Edition | Subscribe