Market play goes down a storm in Chorley
A theatre show about a town's market space might not sound like it would break box office records.
But Under The Market Roof is a delight to watch.
Set in Chorley market, the play revolves around Len and his granddaughter Lisa who is facing a decision over whether she should take over the running of her grandfather’s stall.
Lisa’s mother’s expectations and dreams of creating a better future for her daughter are at odds with Lisa’s love for the market tradition. She wants to keep alive what her beloved grandfather started off. He had built up his stall after showing up to the market with just two suitcases as a young man, ready to make a life for himself.
The play, written by Becky Prestwich, is based on interviews she had with traders at Chorley's historic market and her script rings true. She has also cleverly sneaked in plenty of important local references celebrating some key landmarks the town has to offer - shopping centre Botany Bay, Frederick's Ice Cream and Applejax nightclub.
Amy Drake, who plays Lisa, was fantastic as the promising young professional who feels the tug between her career as an accountant and her love of the market. Romance blossoms between Lisa and Jay, played by Naveed Choudhry, who has been working odd jobs on the market for as long as she can remember. A highlight of their budding relationship was a awkward dance between them to Dirty Dancing hit The Time of My Life.
Artistic director Liz Stevenson made great use of the space with a moving market stall coming out of an alleyway and the actors entering and exiting from all over the venue.
The community cast peppered the play with lots of charming touches - an elderly woman on a mobility scooter, a gaggle of local couples and a stall holder shouting "I know your nan" at a thief running off with a stolen item from a market stall.
They also take a dig at Chorley Council in good spirit with officials walking round with litter picks talking about health and safety which got laughs from the audience.
Guests to the production enjoyed the play from their vantage points at cafe tables. Before the show commenced theatre-goers ate their tea, prepared by Bees Country Kitchen, with Chorley FM in the background. Chorley FM, very appropriately is the entertainment before the show starts and the radio DJ even introduces the play - a nice touch. Cozy red rugs adorn the chairs - you'll need them. It's cold. The play begins with Lisa walking onto stage, cutting the lighting. It's an effective opening and one that immediately and successfully holds the attention of the audience.
Well worth the watch, Under The Market Roof from Junction 8 Theatre Company runs until October 21.