The girls of Shakers have to contend with unruly patrons, a sleazy boss and their own ambitions and rivalries in DLT’s new play

Cocktail theatre

by Andy Bryenton

The opening night of the Dargaville little Theatre’s double production of John Godber’s plays Bouncers and Shakers has proven to be a comedy hit, with plenty of laughs rocking a full house last Thursday.

The director of the challenging double billing, which follows the lives of the cocktail waitresses and doormen at a trendy nightclub, says that it’s a big call for actors to span the range of characters and emotions on display in the British playwright’s most famous work. Moreover, from the reaction of the crowd it definitely all came together on the night.

Roxanne Kelly, who returned as director after an absence from the chair of more than two decades, chose a production, which didn’t just challenge her cast. It’s also full of edgy humour and adult situations, as one would expect from a tale of the seedy side of nightlife. The layout of the theatre was changed to compensate, with many patrons enjoying a table right onstage amid the action. One male theatregoer was even singled out as the object of some of the female cast’s admiration, leading to some big laughs — just as the playwright intended. The artistry of both the writing, direction and acting in this double billing is not only in sharp wits and wry one-liners, however. It’s also in the way that all of the eight actors present moments of honesty and vulnerability in between the crass, comic and all-too-relatable stories of life amid the drunk and disorderly.

Bouncers and Shakers continues its run this week with three more shows available to view. Like the very best examples of the comic genre, it will definitely make you laugh. It will also make you think, which makes it even more worth watching.