2016 – Shakers

Written by: John Godber & Jane Thornton

Directed By: Tom Guest

Produced By: less is MORE 

Welcome to Shakers, where the guys come to drink, the girls come to dance and many a drunken tale is told under the watchful eyes of Adele, Carol, Mel and Nikki. But these girls do so much more than watch, they listen, they smile and they seem to live this job each and every evening. Taking us back to the glamour and glitz of an 80’s cocktail bar, less is MORE present the classic all female comedy Shakers.


Nikki: Sarah Boulter

Mel : Rosie Stancliffe

Carol: Laura Lonsdale

Adele: Sarah York

 Middlesbrough Theatre / February 2016

by Anna Ambelez “Shaken but not stirred” 4 out of 5 stars

‘Shakers’ is the cocktail bar to be seen in, the place to pick up, chat up or unwind. The establishment employs four waitresses, all with their own back story, giving you an insight to their hopes, dreams and disappointments. Set in the bar it goes straight into various scenarios involving the waitresses and various customers. The four actors play a variety of characters, in different situations, male and female, all very convincingly and at great speed.
The first girl to reveal her background is Carol (Laura Lonsdale) an academic with a degree, is stuck working in a bar; Mel (Rosie Stancliffe) mourns the loss of her father for herself and mother. Nikki (Sarah Boulter) is an aspiring actor concerned about her gran whilst Adele (Sarah York) is concerned about her partner and her dark secret.

The simple but effective set has a star cloth, setting off the pink bar, neon sign, high chairs and tables. Two movable blocks create many other settings such as counters, changing rooms, toilets and tills. The first half delivers comedy sketches thick and fast with well executed one liners producing much laughter. The shorter second half begins with a very amusing song routine, relying on movement instead of lines and contains two revealing, more serious monologues which brought light and shade to the content. Nikki’s monologue was very touching and made the character more real as Adele’s revelation did. The show could stand more of this honesty.

Written by the Yorkshire playwright John Godber and Jane Thorton, a partnership that has produced several plays. Godber has been named as the third most popular playwright after Shakespeare and Alan Acykbourn, no mean claim to fame, alongside having written for TV series like Brookside and Grange Hill. The young student audience certainly appreciated the humour on offer.

‘Less is More Productions’ set up in 2009 by Laura Lonsdale and David Tuffnell, strive to give opportunities to young Northern Eastern performers and produce new innovative work: whilst ‘Shakers’ is not new it is still topical on many levels. Cocktails are the drink of the moment and the four waitress stories are timeless. The four girls are obviously all talented actors, with excellent comedy delivery, sad they do not get the chance to show more variation of mood; an abortion is a tragic experience, possibly life changing; losing a parent, at a relatively young age is very emotionally upsetting, two examples of where more in-depth character study could elevate the show to another level. More moments of pathos would even enhance the humour. This production may benefit from less concentration given to full on comedy sketches delivered speedily and relentlessly with more attention to developing individual characters, giving the show more variety of pace and interest.