A playwright has been told he must warn audiences his one-man act features a roast chicken - for fear of offending vegetarians.

Doug Devaney, 41, of Roedale Road, Brighton, has toured the city for years with his play Mein Gutt, a black comedy about a man's losing battle against obesity.

But the vegetarian Sanctuary Café in Hove has told him the show can only go on if the audience is warned beforehand that there is a dead chicken involved.

Mr Devaney said: "I phoned up as a matter of courtesy to let them know I used a chicken as an essential part of the show but they got back to me a few days later to say I would have to give the audience a warning.

"I've heard of strobe lighting or nudity being cause for audience concern but never sugar-roasted chicken.

"Do people really need that much protecting? I wonder what they do when they walk past the rotisserie at Asda?

"I'm happy to do it - I just consider it weird. Will Shakespeareans have to warn theatre-goers about eye-gouging in King Lear from now on? It takes some of the surprise of theatre away and how sensitive are we?"

Sandra McDonagh, who organises events at the Sanctuary Café, said: "Essentially we just don't want to cause offence so we want to give out a warning beforehand.

"I had to run it past the café owners and they asked for a warning in case somebody stands up and says, I wasn't told about this'.

"People would definitely assume there was no meat on the premises but it will be nowhere near the kitchen or any food preparation area.

"There will always be one person who will be sensitive enough to complain. I have come across staunch vegans in my time who will kick off about most things and it's better to cover yourselves."

The play, which Mr Devaney said was about "the way people change their attitude to you when you become a man of size", will be performed every Friday throughout the Brighton Festival Fringe at 9.15pm in the cellar room.

The show runs for 50 minutes and tickets can be purchased on the door for £6 or £5 concessions. After the Brighton Fringe Festival run, Mein Gutt will travel to Shoreham for the Adur Festival.

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