Bouncers at Welwyn Garden City theatre

PUBLISHED: 16:58 25 April 2014 | UPDATED: 16:58 25 April 2014

Bouncers & Shakers at Barn Theatre [Picture: Simon Wallace / MeltingPot Pictures]

Bouncers & Shakers at Barn Theatre [Picture: Simon Wallace / MeltingPot Pictures]

MeltingPot Pictures

A double bill of Bouncers and Shakers can be seen on stage in Welwyn Garden City.

Bouncers & Shakers at Barn TheatreBouncers & Shakers at Barn Theatre

Four men in black on the door and four waitresses inside a cocktail bar – you are invited to a night on the town.

The Barn Theatre is staging a double bill of John Godber’s internationally acclaimed plays Bouncers, first performed by Hull Truck Theatre, and Shakers, co-written with his wife Jane Thornton in 1985.

The plays crackle with wit, imagination and sharp social commentary and can be seen on stage in Welwyn Garden City from tonight (Friday, April 25) until Saturday, May 3.

Set in and around a Northern nightclub, Bouncers is the play that launched Godber’s career and became one of the most performed plays of the 20th century.

Bouncers at Barn Theatre [Picture: Simon Wallace / MeltingPot Pictures]Bouncers at Barn Theatre [Picture: Simon Wallace / MeltingPot Pictures]

The bouncers of the title are the four men on the door who are at once themselves and every character they meet on a night’s work at the club.

Bad dancing, dodgy hairdos, funky 80s tunes and bam – you have a taste of Northern 80s urban nightlife.

It’s theme, says Godber, is universal: “Men after beer, after women, and the beat goes on.”

Fast paced and physically exuberant, the play is directed by Hannah Sayer, a Barn newcomer with a substantial theatrical background.

Shakers at Barn Theatre [Picture: Simon Wallace / MeltingPot Pictures]Shakers at Barn Theatre [Picture: Simon Wallace / MeltingPot Pictures]

She said: “There’s so much energy in this, it will blow the audience away.

“If it doesn’t make you laugh it will certainly make you think.”

Shakers, set in and around a cocktail bar, shines a disco light on the social and emotional relationships between the four waitresses and their punters – excited girls out to party, businessmen behaving badly, lads and lasses on the pull.

All roles, again, are played by four core actors, which is demanding for the director and the actors.

Shakers at Barn Theatre [Picture: Simon Wallace / MeltingPot Pictures]Shakers at Barn Theatre [Picture: Simon Wallace / MeltingPot Pictures]

John Keogh, Shakers’ director, said: “Both plays are performed with a minimal set and no props and that asks a lot of the actors.

“When you’re playing multiple characters, working without props, you have to work really hard to get precision in the role-playing and strong definition in characterisation, or you’ll lose your audience.”

Fortunately the directors have succeeded in bringing together eight actors who are up to it.

Peter Dawson, Joshua Banks, Ben Falkiner and Jim Kinloch star in Bouncers and Adrienne Perry, Alessia Procaccini, Paula Hill and Christine Lynn in Shakers.

Bouncers at Barn Theatre [Picture: Simon Wallace / MeltingPot Pictures]Bouncers at Barn Theatre [Picture: Simon Wallace / MeltingPot Pictures]

Demand for tickets is high, so you’d better hurry or, in the words of the men in black, “you can’t come in!”

Evening performances are at 8pm with a matinee on Saturday, May 3 at 2.30pm.

Please note these productions contain strobe lighting.

Tickets cost £11 from the Barn Theatre box office on 01707 324300 or online at www.barntheatre.co.uk

* See next week’s Welwyn Hatfield Times, out Wednesday, for a review of Bouncers and Shakers.

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