Shakers Re-Stirred
Stevenage Lytton Players, Wed Nov 11-Sat Nov 14, Lytton Theatre Stevenage

Set in a trendy cocktail bar in the 1980s the play shows the lives of four hard-working waitresses, Carol, Adele, Mel and Nicky.

Four actresses play these roles and also the varied customers who use the bar, from yuppy businessmen to shop girls on a night out.

The production was performed as Avenue Theatre; the audience sitting on two sides of the hall facing one another, and the furniture consisted of just four bar stools, two chairs and a table.

A feature of the play is that there are no properties or costume changes; everything is mimed, and this was done brilliantly in this slick production by Roger Brown, performed by Lesley Humphreys, Imelda Wilks, Laura Thompson and Scarlett Bennett. One of the funniest sequences involved four supermarket checkout girls, preparing to celebrate a 21st birthday – in the boutiques trying on costumes, in the ladies’ doing their make up and in the bar getting drunk.

Each waitress had her Shirley Valentine moment, confiding to the audience her true feelings: Carol, who has a degree and wanted to be a photographer feels she is wasting her life; Adele would like to be at home looking after her three-year-old but can’t afford it; Mel, with a new boyfriend every month, would like to be married, but is scared to reveal a previous abortion; and Nicky, preparing to work on a cruise ship, fears they may want her to work topless.

The concentration of the cast was first rate, and they had been melded together into an impressive team. The pace and invention was excellent. I particularly liked the use of the audience as some of the customers, and the laughter which resulted sent the audience very happy into a wet and dismal November night.

Eric George – The Mercury, 1st December 2009 Reproduced by kind permission of the Hertfordshire Mercury