The audience were wearing rather unusual choices for the theatre; walking boots, wellies, coats and one man wore a bobble hat and scarf, throughout the show. This was because of the snow, the audience had battled through; a respectable audience given the adverse weather conditions. On a day when schools were closed, Meadowhall was closed and John Lewis closed at 4pm; the message on the theatres automated telephone message was ‘The show will go on!’ The audience of Chicken Soup will be pleased they made it to the show because it was very enjoyable.
The play, starts in 1984, two days after Orgreave. It is centred round three women, who are running a soup kitchen, near the pit heads of Rotherham (adjacent town to Sheffield). In 1984, I was 2 years old. One of the characters is pregnant; with a daughter. As I was 2 years old, at the time of Orgreave, I have had to check wilpedia … it said:
The Battle of Orgreave was a violent confrontation on 18 June 1984 between police and pickets at a British Steel Corporation (BSC) coking plant in Orgreave, South Yorkshire. It was a pivotal event in the 1984–85 UK miners’ strike, and one of the most violent clashes in British industrial history
The set is the typical kitchen, of a English village hall, with a serving hatch through to the main hall. The cupboards are a 70’s peach colour. There is then a set change and the cupboard doors are replaced by white doors. ….It is 2002. The hall is being set up for a party to celebrate the Queen’s golden jubilee. The daughter, of the pregnant lady in the first act , now features in the play; she is 17 years old. The daughter wears the typical fashion, of the year; cargo pants and a string vest top, she has a nokia 3210 which she plays snakes on. I was 19years old in 2002,I had a nokia 3210 and I saw the Queen as part of her jubilee, tour around the UK.
After 1 hour and 30minutes, the interval is reached. Chicken soup (or vegetable) is provided as substance for the second half. The idea of the serving of the chicken soup, is to emulate the experience of queuing up at a soup kitchen to receive charity of free soup when you are struggling for money due to not earning whilst being on strike.
After the interval it is 2016; the day of the Brexit vote. The ladies reminece, about how back in 1984 (act 1), they were recording Dynasty on video tape and you had to remember to set it up to record or otherwise you missed out; but now you can buy the box set of Dynasty or stream it from sky. The daughter who is now in her 30s, like myself on the day of the vote; has voted remain. One of her mum’s friends have voted to leave; there is passionate arguments. Throughout the play there is arguments, warmth, laughter and sadness which is portrayed to a high standard by the actresses. The attention to detail gives the play authenticity; from the changing fashions, down to the C&A carrier bag, in the first act, to the clock on the wall changing in each act to the Marks and Spencer cakes for the jubilee party (they lady who was pregnant in 1984 is now a busy career lady; she buys cakes from Marks and Spencer’s as she does not have time to bake, unlike in 1984 when she was a housewife).
It is amazing seeing the context of what has changed within my lifetime; from video tapes to sky series linking, from being a toddler to voting in a referendum and from landlines through nokia 3210 to I phone.
Even more more has changed for Women in the last 100years. This year it is 100years, since the first women were allowed to vote in England. This year, there is a number of events at Sheffield Museums, connected to women being allowed to vote and protests.
Thursday 8th March is International Women’s day.; there is a number of events taking place in Sheffield to mark International women’s day over the next couple of weeks.