MARKET BOY *****

27 Apr

by David Eldridge

at the Union Theatre.

A brilliant ensemble piece. One sort of expects a musical but music is hardy required. – well there is a bit. “Walking in the Air” a few bars and “Land of Hope and Glory” with everybody singing different words.

Apart from that , there is rap playing constantly at the market. The set is beautifully decorated with the market stalls one full of fruit and veg which is delightfully colourful and other with all kinds of gear, Videos and discs (we are in 1989) jackets and handbags. There are sellers of these goods, the leather boys – gangsters really, who are the only people who take credit cards; the Market Inspector or ‘The Toby’ played by Mat Betteridge like an old fashioned sergeant major who bullies them unmercifully and takes grisbi from each of them.

But the story is centered around The boy Michael Ayiotis and the girl Claudia Archer. Michael’s beautiful and lonely single Mum played by Amy Gallagher. And the sex mad Trader in women’s shoes played by Andy Umerah wo hires the boy and fancies his mother.

But it is the market that is the real star. It is the kind of life that has more or less disappeared with the advent of huge supermarkets, but is hopefully creeping back as ‘Farmers markets’ which sell mostly organic foods .

But what a wonderful time it was. And what wonderful people they were. fightin’ eachother one day and best chums the next. I was constantly reminded of a musical Hall song that I found myself singing

all the way home. ‘He’ll black your eye one minute and he’ll stand a jar the

ext’ Called “e’s all right when yer know ‘im, but you gotta know him fust’

This play was first produced at the National Theatre. How great that the clever Union Theatre have given us another chance to enjoy it.

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