“Welcome to Shakers,” announced four boisterous cocktail waitresses, bursting on to the Barron stage. However, what followed was so much more than just a bar-stool drama. Directed by Lucy Bidie, Shakers Re-stirred was a tough yet playful exploration of womanhood that kept the audience laughing in shock, amusement or just plain relatability.
All four actresses showed excellent character work as they flicked between tired servers and relentless customers. Minoli De Silva, Elizabeth Fraser, Holly Gomez and Esme Paul all performed with fantastic vibrancy. At times, I felt that a little more stillness to their monologues could have provided greater poignancy, particularly since these were where the play’s most evocative themes arose. Despite this, the performers still conveyed touching moments of fragility amongst bluster and bravado.
Scenery was designed to fill the majority of the stage, which added a touch of claustrophobia to the play’s most hectic moments, such as when tensions of the close-quartered environment finally began to boil over. Unfortunately, these arguments still felt muted and anti-climatic, meaning they didn’t carry the full emotional weight possible. However, in spite of the many characters that needed to be provided for, attention to costuming was spot on. Every persona, no matter how fleeting, was dressed suitably from the array of items hanging at the back of the stage.
From fitting-room insecurities to unwanted male attention, Shakers Re-stirred contained something for everyone as Lucy’s direction kept the play’s universal themes as open as possible. Although the deep freeze had cooled audience numbers, this group held relentless energy and power throughout the performance. They are clearly a talent to watch.
STARS: * * * *
Carla van der Sluijs