“Shakers – Restirred” by Derby Shakespeare Theatre Company
Duchess Theatre, Long Eaton
Duchess Theatre, Long Eaton
“Shakers” was first presented by Hull Truck Theatre Company at the Spring Street Theatre, Hull, on 29 January 1984; the revised version given here, “Shakers Restirred”, was first presented by the Hull Truck Theatre Company in 1991.
Written by Jon Godber and Jane Thornton as an all female version of “Bouncers” and relies on the four actors’ talents for quick change characterization as they take on both female and male roles.
In “Shakers Re-Stirred” we see the girls of Shakers cocktail bar, the newest, shiniest cocktail bar in town where, in spite of the glitz and glamour of the décor, the patrons, and the people who serve them, are none too happy at all.
This play should be on the National Health as I entered the theatre a bit jaded and left dancing.
While this may not be Shakespeare, there are similarities between the poetry of Shakespeare's and the poetry in this script, but anyone who knows the back catalogue of the works of Derby Shakespeare Theatre Company will know that they can produce a diverse and vastly entertaining collection of plays. Not only that but "Shake" is part of the play and the group, so there is still a connection.
I love "Bouncers", and this is just as funny, which goes to show what brilliant writers Jon Godber and Jane Thornton are, taking a similar theme and making it equally as chucklesome
Whereas "Bouncers" has a limited set, this production looks like you are in a cocktail bar with its' fluorescent pink strip lighting and bar complete with optics, bar stools, tables and chairs.
Directed by Neil Scott he kept this production flowing with waves of comedy, followed by a gentler ripple of pathos; the poetic script ebbing and flowing with the rhythm of the delivery.
Alex Wrampling (Mel), Heidi Hargreaves (Adele), Emily Horobin (Nikki) and Clare Snape (Carol) are the Fab Four who take on the forms of the male and female clientele of the ultra trendy cocktail bar. I loved the way they morphed into the male characters and accentuated all the worst habits that men of certain age and social standing exhibit on a night out with the lads.
All four have moments in the play to shine as we learn more about the characters, their hopes, dreams and past. And you have just got to love the way that the no nonsense Mel addresses some of the customers who are trying to get in to the bar when closed.
These four actors have great chemistry and that shows with the characters they play and the relationships between the four bar workers. And it's non stop all the way through, making this a high energy hit.
Creating the right atmosphere in the bar is also key and the soundtrack is totally 1980's with music from the Human League, Fine Young Cannibals, Frankie Goes To Hollywood and Wham! among the many retro smashes.
With a play like this, the lighting is vital as it splices the scenes and makes it the snappy show it is. Steve Greatorix's Design and Tim Booth's operation helped create the pace of the piece.
So if you are in need of a good old chuckle fest, or are in need of cheering up, then this is the perfect remedy.
“Shakers Restirred” is at the Duchess Theatre, Long Eaton until Saturday 28 September 2019.
Thanks to Emma Duder for the photos.