Last Friday night Stuart and I went to see a revival of David Eldridge's fantastic play Market Boy at the Union Theatre in London's glitzy Southwark.
Full disclosure: Dave is a mate of ours. But please don't think I'm biased - I piss off mates all the time with truthful reviews (just watch out for faint praise like "lovely lighting!")
But fear not, dear reader, this play was a corker.
The action follows our hero "Boy" as he joins Romford Market in the 1980s and his slow rise up the ranks. The dialogue is coarse, sharp, and very funny. Most of the street marketers’ attitude is, as it was at the time, grossly politically incorrect. So politically incorrect in fact that everyone seems to worship Thatcher (who even makes an appearance or two). Like Maggie's Farm, the market is king.
Con artists, piss artists, animated characters, well-drawn caricatures, dodgy stereos, equally dodgy stereotypes, proper 'units', duckers and divers, fast talkers, and slow burners. 1980s: racism, sexism, ladism, marketism, Thatcherism... it was riot of colour and noise and humour and banter. Everything is up for sale, cash talks, and the deal rules.
The Union Theatre is a small venue and what with 20 actors on stage the chaotic atmosphere of a packed Romford Market was well realised. There is excellent use of 1980s music and tremendous energy from the ensemble cast simply propels the show forward. We left beaming ear to ear.
Oh, and lovely lighting! Ha, ha. Joke! (Sorry Dave!)