Review: Bouncers and Shakers

The cast of Shakers, presented by Green Door Theatre. (s)
The cast of Shakers, presented by Green Door Theatre. (s)

Bouncers and Shakers – kaleidoscopes of parodic colour and lurid characterisation – illuminated the darker sides of the party life.

The two plays, presented by Green Door Theatre Group and written by John Godber and Jane Thornton, pin together snapshots of working-class life seen through the eyes of a group of cocktail waitresses and men on the club door.

Set in the 1980s, the tales are still as relevant today - sex, alcohol and music continuing to shape British culture - and serve up all the magic and madness of a night out on the town.

Romps doused in harsh but realistic language, these hilarious shows aren’t for the light-hearted. But they do serve as portals into the world of theatre for those who might not ordinarily consider it their cup of tea. In particular, Godber’s Bouncers, as the playwright himself notes, has the gritty appeal to draw in white working-class men.

While the cast of Bouncers sharpened the parodic outlines of the characters with flamboyant voicing and mannerisms, the actresses in Shakers softened them for a gentler look at working-class life.

Both shows are demanding: fortunately, Green Door offered a medley of skill. The entire cast - Cathryn Osborne, Sophie Greenwood, Elizabeth Rowell, Charlotte Lawson, Kev Riley, Paul Thompson, Josh Hindle and Riz Riley – waltzed from character to character, nailing a range of accents.

Kev and Catherine sharpened the characterisation of Eric and Carol, not only landing jabs of comedy but also accentuating, respectively, their fears, inner demons and sense of hopelessness.

Co-directors Steve Grist and Gilly Fontaine-Grist did a terrific job with minimal props to capture the feel of the original production, which arose from the use of multiple role-playing. The plot wheeled like a dance and the observational quality of stand-up comedy was captured. Both reflected the lives of the characters: spinning through the night, cloaking their troubles in laughter, sex and alcohol.

The pace, as you might imagine, romped and bounced, the scenes changing swiftly: credit for efficiency must also go to Marina Butterworth as prompt, Ben Fontaine on sound and Steve Doleman in lighting.

Parody might well have been in abundance, as Godber has often noted of reproductions, but Green Door maintained the cutting truth of the original.

Performances continue tonight, tomorrow and Saturday on the The Muni stage, Albert Road, Colne, with doors opening at 7pm.

Book for £10 per seat on 01282 661234, online at www.themuni.co.uk or pay on the door.