Box of Tricks Theatre Company, based in Manchester, is well named when it comes to their latest production Chip Shop Chips – you never knew what was coming next!
They’re definitely a company to look out for and are a breath of fresh air, commissioning and developing bold and original new plays from exciting new voices “creating ambitious and heartfelt theatre that engages, challenges and entertains”.
Chip Shop Chips, by up and coming playwright Becky Prestwich, is a nostalgic, funny and heartfelt play about our love of fish and chips, inspired by visiting youth theatres, community groups and talking with the older generation about their memories of their chippy, alongside director Adam Quayle.
After fishing for what she wanted when trawling through these memories and stories, Becky has created very believable characters, and Katie Scott has designed a warm and welcoming set for the audience to be a part of.
Add a plateful of delicious fish and chips, a big quiz, and even some newspaper craft activities, all set in a non-standard space, and you have the ingredients for a great night out, hopefully also attracting people who wouldn’t normally go to the theatre.
The Market Hall Scarborough was a wonderful setting for this play, with Josh Moran playing Eric (a son who had returned home more than 40 years after he left, full of new ideas) taking over Booth and Sons Fish and Chip Shop, and proving to be a natural with his audience, piling on the fish puns as he told us what was in store that evening.
Mark Newsome played his earnest young assistant Lee, who took great pride in his work, and smiled warmly at “customers” as we took our seats at the inviting red and white checked tables.
Along came two late arrivals, recently widowed grandmother Christine (Julie Edwards) and her sassy, cynical granddaughter Jasmine (Jessica Forrest) and space was found for them, with their table cleverly placed on a platform in the middle of the set so that everyone could see and hear them.
It might have seemed chaotic what with quizzes and activities interspersing the play, but it was all very carefully crafted, and we gradually learned more about the young, and the older couple.
I was particularly moved by sweet and sincere Lee’s character; his speech about what his job meant to him when goaded by “goddess” Jasmine, was an absolute triumph.
A charismatic cast, cracking dialogue, a hefty dollop of Yorkshire humour, and great grub, ensured that a good time was had by all.
Chip Shop Chips plays at Pocklington Arts Centre on Tuesday 3 April to a sell out audience.