Shakers complements John Godber’s earlier, and more famous, Bouncers.
The milieu is the same: the sleazy nightlife of a club or cocktail bar and the cynical attitudes of the staff.
The structure too is now familiar. As the contemporary pop music (Erasure, Talking Heads, New Order et al) helps to place the action, the actors switch, at dizzying speed, between playing bar staff and their unspeakable customers. Indeed, pace seems to pose some challenges for the diction of the actors as lines become lost in the swirl of activity.
As the lights go down, each of the four actors – Amy Thompson (Adele), Annie Kirkman (Carol), Kate Huntsman (Nicky), Laura Aramayo (Mel) – enters individually, forming a phalanx at the front of the stage, lips curling in contempt. Some audience members laughed uncomfortably as the normal direction of gaze in the theatre was reversed.
As the evening progresses, each character has her own soliloquy, exposing the humanity behind the brittle façades.
One wishes that customers would see beyond the uniform to the highly qualified individual underneath while another debates whether taking up an offer of working on a cruise ship would be a step forward, especially as it may involve dancing topless.
Graham Kirk’s set gives just enough suggestion of a cocktail bar where the glamour is fading and the four black cubes are minimalist, but supportive, props and décor.
Shakers runs at East Riding Theatre, Beverley, until May 20.
Tickets: 01482 874050