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    Shake it up baby, I hear you sing? Well, when one Beatles fan decides to shake up her life, she doesn’t quite get the results she was hoping for!

     

    As part of Ticket to Write Festival, Suzan Holder’s comedy drama Shake it up baby tells a tale of love, lies and music. When the lovable but cautious Jackie decides to venture into the world of online dating, she thinks she’s hit the jackpot when she meets a fellow Beatles fan. Yet as their relationship progresses, things aren’t quite what they seem.

     

    The charm of Shake it up baby lies in the overall context of the scenes - you can relate to that awkward first date, or that longing to find the one you want to spend the rest of your life with. Then there’s the fandom aspect - much like Jackie has all the Beatles memorabilia you could think of, which one of us isn’t the same about our favourite musicians? You can relate to her, warm to her and feel empathy for her when things take an unexpected turn.

     

     

    From start to finish, Shake it up baby is a delight to watch. Though only a small cast of four, the hustle and bustle of dating is brought to life by four amazing actors who can change characters in the blink of an eye - some to hilarious effect! Cue over amorous lovers, those with quirky passions for fashion and some scenarios that seem more like an interview than a date! Look out for hilarious moments from Hayley Hampson, whose multi-rolling is worthy of a comedy award. Her characterisation and performance is a treat to watch; a brilliant mix of amusing characters who you can relate to or recognise in your own life. Look out particularly for her eager bride to be and her hilarious fashionista. I wouldn’t be surprised if Hayley doesn’t have her own sitcom show in the future - a fantastic actress with a gift for comedy gold.

     

     

    Leading the story is Beverly Wilson, who is simply wonderful as Jackie. She utilises the excellent, witty script and breaks down the barrier between character and audience (the fourth wall as it’s known). Between banter with the sound engineers about the use of particular songs, to revealing that it isn’t just her who has suitcases for her summer and winter clothes (you know we all do!), Beverly has an excellent report with the audience. Her onstage chemistry with Neil McDonald as Scott is just as beautiful; her facial expressions alone could tell the story - her dreams that she may have found the one and then the heartbreak when it spirals downwards.

     

    Much like the title, the Beatles references that pop up throughout the play are cleverly woven into the script! Listen out for the sweet message that Scott send Jackie, which references a particular song we all know and love. However, this isn’t just a play for Beatles fans. It’s a comedy with heart and a treat to watch. If you ever get the chance to see this show, I’d highly recommend it to anyone. It’s a testament to the talent in our theatre industries today; superbly written, exquisitely presented and brilliantly performed.

     

    5 stars

     

     

    By Sarah O' Hara

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