It’s Edinburgh in the 80s; a busy night at the cocktail bar, Shakers, with four waitresses – Adele, Carole, Mel, and Nicky running around trying to satisfy all their customers while allowing us a glimpse into their own lives.
Written by John Godber and Jane Thornton, this revised version of the 1980s play is presented by The Edinburgh Graduates Theatre Group. While the original script is based in North England, Hilary Spiers has brought this universal story to Edinburgh, where jokes are just as relevant and stories told could’ve happened today.
Shakers has a good, strong start, immediately diving into the hospitality world of questionable characters, misogynistic men and pretentious couples where martinis are not the only dirty thing on the menu. Nicola Hamilton, Eilidh Smith, Lois Williams, and Rhona O’Donnell have great comical chemistry as they take on different characters, the next more outrageous than the previous. Their unmatched energy is as impressive as the impressions of customers everyone with experience working at a bar would appreciate.
There is a sudden and swift change in direction as Shakers moves from comedy to drama, taking us to darker places meant to move the audience and enable us to relate to the characters. Suddenly, too much is happening as we find out more about the main characters and their private lives, each of them going through a different clichéd issue and experience, making me wish we could just stay at Shakers and dive into the experiences of working at a bar. By the time we reach the end, I’m just as tired as the performers must be, forced to feel emotions I didn’t feel were necessary.
With too many ingredients put together, this cocktail comes out shaken, perhaps, one too many times, the taste of sweet and bitter clashing in my mouth. Even though the show is relevant, it may need to look into the future rather than the past as there are so many more possibilities and stories to truthfully depict bar life – originality begging to be used.
The infamous Sh!t Faced Showtime are back in London with a festive edition, they have taken Dickens’ classic and put a drunken spin on it. The formula is the same as other iterations of the Shi!t Faced shows, one member of the cast has been boozing, and this time it is John Milton who plays Scrooge. Before the show, half a bottle of Jim Beam, some wine, and beer have been consumed in the previous 4 hours. The rest of the cast, try to keep the show on track, also aided by James Murfitt as the compere, Charles Dickens. The … More A PISSEDMAS CAROL – REVIEW – LEICESTER SQUARE
Spine-tingling yet heart-warming, Mark Gatiss’s retelling of A Christmas Carol truly encapsulates the haunting atmosphere of a Victorian ghost story, balanced out with enough humour so as to capture the festive season. Led by Keith Allen as Scrooge, with Peter Forbes as Marley, this show is perfect for Christmas viewing. The set design by Paul Wills is instantly captivating, containing stacks of metal cabinets towering over the theatre, moveable by the cast to allow space for other central props like doors, beds and tables. In addition to this, the puppetry design by Matthew Forbes is incredibly clever, adding creepy elements to the show such … More A CHRISTMAS CAROL – REVIEW – ALEXANDRA PALACE
The title of this winner of Theatre 503’s 2023 International Playwriting Award by Roxy Cook may seem like the set-up to a joke, but the narrative that unspools is instead an affectionate, gently barbed and at base quite sobering portrait of three ordinary souls (and one restless feline) adrift in modern Moscow. There is much affable, satirical back-and-forth commentary on the accepted myths & stereotypes of the Russian spirit & soul. Beset by the indignities of age, opportunism, graft, fatigue, the characters orbit one another, doomed to play out their roles in an unjust, predatory and saturnine universe. The play opens … More A WOMAN WALKS INTO A BANK – REVIEW – THEATRE503
Peter Pan Goes Wrong first premiered in London at the Pleasance Theatre in 2013, and earlier this year the show made its Broadway debut. Now the production is back in the West End for the Christmas season. Following on from The Play That Goes Wrong, in this production, J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan is staged by the fictitious Cornley Polytechnic Drama Society and goes awry, disastrously so. The meta-comedy is filled with slapstick comedy, sometimes the humour may be predictable and silly, but it’s universally funny throughout – there is something for everyone here, and the laughs come thick and fast … More PETER PAN GOES WRONG – REVIEW – LYRIC THEATRE
Drawing heavily from the classic canon of the British supernatural, HighTide’s trio of contemporary Gothic narratives uses traditional storytelling formats to address contemporary themes. Directed by Elayce Ismail, reverent musical interludes accompany tales of apparitions and nighttime conjurings that speak of women from the East of England. Unfortunately, the effect is less chilling and more lightweight, with conventional structures, predictable plot twists and an over-reliance on external forces to drive narrative shoring up some of the less relatable aspects of the genre. Nicola Werenowska’s The Beach House, perhaps the cleanest of the three tales, tells of a mother and daughter’s … More GHOST STORIES BY CANDLELIGHT – REVIEW – SAM WANAMAKER PLAYHOUSE