On a recent Thursday, I made a trip to Wackers fish and chip shop on Gillygate in York. I wasn’t there just to get my hands on some delicious fish and chips but to see a musical. Random right? Well that’s exactly why I went. I love experiencing theatre in random places: in shops, on the street, anywhere.
Showing up at 8pm, we were seated and served yummy fish and chips and a drink. The two negatives so far were you could only be seated in groups up to four so you are split up if your group is bigger and you only have the option of fish and chips (my mate was hankering for a sausage) and a tea or a coffee. But I was alone (although bumped into some friends) and it was a lovely option to have food and a drink included in the ticket price so neither of these things bothered my enjoyment.
The tables were covered in mucky brown tablecloths and there were old, stained signs advertising food offers dotted around. At first I didn’t actually realise that these “props” were part of the show but it did add a nice authenticity to create a crummy, old, fish and chip shop.
#ChipShopTheMusical has a cast of two: the shop manager, Gram and his new employee, Ayla. Gram a brass loving, stuck in his ways, rigid, unhappy man and Ayla, a wannabe grime artist with an attitude and unhappy home life. Chalk and cheese, ying and yang, polar opposites… or are they?
The hour long show follows Ayla being hired as Gram drowns trying to keep up with the shop’s demands and they’re inevitable falling outs. But they learn, through music, that they both just want to be happy and themselves and that working together they can find that happiness.
The actor playing Gram is a good singer but some of the songs did sound similar. It was when Gram tried rapping that his character really came alive. The actress playing Ayla is a talented rapper and she shines most when she has the chance to let loose with her rhymes. However, the end song was a bit too cloying for me, although I still can’t get it out of my head.
Overall, I enjoyed the show. It is definitely worth seeing. I have even started listening to grime music as it piqued my interest. The same didn’t happen for brass music though I’m afraid. So if you’re trawling to see a show, go along, eat some yummy food and see an interesting piece of theatre.
#ChipShoptheMusical, Emma Hill, Writes/Freedom Studios/Octagon Theatre, Bolton, Yorkshire Festival. Image: http://www.thestage.co.uk.