Review: Shakers (by AmDramFan)


By John Godber and Jane Thornton

14-17 February 2018

Directed by Michael Ayres

“This companion piece to John Godber’s ‘Bouncers’ (written by him and his wife Jane Thornton), was set in a cocktail bar somewhere in the north of England during the Thatcher years, but could easily have been a comment on austerity Britain and the #metoo movement.

shakers review surrey theatre
The cast was made up of four actresses, who each spend almost the entire 90 minutes on stage and between them play a wide variety of parts related to the cocktail bar. Each has a core role as one of the waitresses in the bar and then also had several cameo roles – male and female – ranging from the girls celebrating a 21st birthday party, young couples on a big night out through to the TV executives taking advantage of “happy hour”.

Each character gave a monologue during the action which illustrated the living, breathing aspects of their lived lives as human beings, in contrast to the sneering, condescending customers who called them ‘lovey’, made tiresome innuendoes and saw in them distortions of their own tawdry fantasies.

The director, Michael Ayres, had gathered a strong cast to represent the waitresses. Carol (played with an affecting world weariness by Nikki Kirkup), has a degree and urges the other girls to make something of themselves and not waste their lives on men. Nicky, admirably played by Laura Spalding, yearning to be an actress showed confidence, – until faced with an audition. Adele (Hayley Clines with an impressive reprtoire of facial expressions told us of her first sexual encounter, – at age 16, with her teacher which led to an abortion. Mel, young, sarcastic and embittered by life, was wonderfully played by Lucy Hamilton.

As an ensemble the actresses showed us how the friends supported each other and clung on to their self respect and belief in something, maybe, a little better than they had in the bar.

The Nomads’ decision to stage the play in the cramped (Ed: some might say “intimate”!) Studio was an excellent one. The audience being in the midst of the smoky atmosphere. Sound, and choice of music was spot on, and brought new romantic (was it?), nostalgia to the play. The minimal set was well wrought too, showing enough of a, slightly seedy, cocktail bar but allowing us to concentrate on the people who populated the space. A nice touch was the velvet roped entrance to the club in the Nomads (real), bar with a DJ’d doorman to lead us through the light festooned (very ’80’s!), corridor into ‘Shakers’. And can I have been the only audience member to have got in to the spirit of the play with a pre-show ‘Greenroom Gloomraiser’ cocktail?

Thank you Nomads!”

As seen by Amdramfan


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