When Bill Snell worked for Liverpool sweet makers Barker and Dobson – purveyors of Everton mints among other sugary delights – little can he have known he would one day turn his experiences into a play.
Not that any of the characters in Sweets For My Sweet, coming to New Brighton and Liverpool, are really based on the writer or his fellow workmates.
It tells the story of young lovers Billy and Mo who work in a 1970s sweet factory. While Mo has an ultimatum for Billy in their personal life, the shop steward’s work life gets more complicated too when he has a showdown with a foreman.
If all that sounds like heavy drama, it is kept light with a series of comic scenes, including an introduction to the ‘dippers’ – the girls whose job it was to make the buttered Brazil sweets, and by a Tamla Motown soundtrack.
“It’s a fun night out,” says Bill, who had the idea for the story germinating in his mind for several years before he put pen to paper.
“There is a definite story to it, a romance, but apart from one or two very dramatic scenes, the rest of the play is really fun.
“And what I’ve really enjoyed is seeing the audience’s reaction.”
The play was given its first outing in Wales, where the 62-year-old retired former union official now lives, including Clywd Theatr Cymru’s studio.
Now it is coming to Liverpool, which once upon a time had two famous sweet factories – Barker and Dobson, which at its height produced around 450 different types of sweets, and Taverners, which invented the chocolate eclair back in 1932.
Meanwhile, the shows at the Lantern Theatre in Blundell Street are in support of the Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation.
Sweets For My Sweet is at the Floral Pavilion in New Brighton on August 30 and the Lantern Theatre in Liverpool from September 6-7. Call 0151 703 0000 for details.