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Compton Players - Shakers Re-Stirred

9th to 12th May 2007.

From the Newbury Weekly News.

Raise a glass to director's debut

Compton Players: Shakers Re-Stirred, at the Coronation Hall, Compton, from Wednesday, May 9 to Saturday, May 12

In Shakers Re-Stirred, by John Godber and Jane Thornton, the action takes place on a busy night in the Shakers cocktail bar, the place to be seen and where the Happy Hour(s) aren't very happy at all.

We see the incidents unfold in a kind of flashback, as seen through the eyes of four waitresses: Carol (Helen Saxton), Adele (Ruth Brown), Nicky (Naomi Read) and Mel (Rebecca Warrington). All of these have their personal reasons for suffering unsocial working hours and tolerating an array of unacceptable customer behaviour.

Switching in the flick of an eye and an effective lighting change, the waitresses change characters to parody their customers: a group of lads on the pull, fatuous businessmen, a group of silly shop assistants, a snobby pair of lovers, and many more.

Here the actors used good body language, accents and voices to portray their diverse myriad of unwelcome patrons. The action never let up, everyone bustling from scene to scene and in and out of character and reflecting modern culture and attitudes. At times the waitresses also confided with the audience about their personal lives, adding pathos to the comedy

The four obviously enjoyed their roles, worked well as a team and were all impressive in the delivery of their sizeable parts (and their enforced service smiles).

Phil Prior, in his debut as a director, must be pleased with the end result - stylish, entertaining and very slick theatre.

Eric Saxton's excellent modern set with its bold geometries and Nick Roberts' colourful lighting deserve a special mention and the waitresses' costumes all emblazoned with the Shakers logos were perfectly conceived.

A brave choice, with some fruity dialogue which may have challenged some of the Compton Players' regular audience - this may have resulted in fewer laughs than might have been expected.

Nonetheless, congratulations to Compton Players for trying something different.