Chip Shop Chips at Good Neighbours

On Sunday 4th March the Manchester based   Box of Tricks theatre company put on a performance of “Chip Shop Chips”, a new play by Becky Prestwich, at Chorlton Good Neighbours

Well, what an amazing performance is was. Well, what is not to like about a play which starts with everyone having a full meal of chip shop fish and chips – my favourite food! This was followed with cake and a cup of tea

Above is  portion of fish & chips (all produced by local chippies). I was well under way with demolishing  by the time I took the photo



And here are some other happy customers

We started off with everyone writing up their own memories of fish and chip shops which then were collected up and some used later in the play. Mine was about Brian, my best friend as a child. His parents owned a fish and chip shop which made it a home from home for me. I remember going to get fish & chips form their shop in Stretford with our cat who would follow us there and back through the gardens by the road.

I lost touched with Brian when we moved house when I was 10. However, nearly 60 years later I went to a talk on Rambling Holidays given by someone with the same unusual name, and yes it was the Brian I knew. In the course of our conversation he mentioned his mum was still alive, but in hospital. I said I always saw her as a very glamorous figure. He reported later that he had told his mum about meeting me and what I had said and how it had really made her day. Very soon after she died but I was pleased with the connection I had made

Amazingly someone else on my table had lived and worked in a family fish & chip shop in Fallowfield. She remembered her son coming back with friends from school, giving them a big newspaper wrapping of chips and sending them off the shed at the back to eat them – I bet he was popular!

The play itself was based round the re-opening of Booths & Sons fish & chip shop by an ageing prodigal son, Eric. His assistant was a gawky, shy young man, Lee. Two of the visitors turned out to be an old flame of Eric’s, Christine and her grandaughter Jasmine. A complicated dual love story unfolded. Interspered between the scenes were a quiz (based around fish & celebrities) and best of all, a competition to make hats out of old newspapers


 Dennis, winner of the newpaper hat competition

There was still time to intersperse a raffle (with about a dozen prizes) and a final scene in which tempers were raised, insults were exchanged but with a final peaceful coming together of both young and old relationships.  During this, because of the intermingling of the performers with the audience there were several vocal interventions by the diners/audience in favour of one of the actors or another

I think towards the end (it was 2 hours long after all) some people were beginning to flag with the hard seats and all, but it was a real, interactive, imaginative and stunning performance that all will remember.  If this is culture, give me more!

Bernard Leach