Shake It Up Baby, Theatre Review. Ticket To Write, Unity Theatre, Liverpool.

Liverpool Sound and Vision Rating 9/10

Cast: Jackie Jones, Neil MacDonald, Hayley Hampson, Julian Feria.

The world has not been the same since four lads from Liverpool took over the mass hysteria and pop domination and showed that the post war spirit of change and seeming polite revolution was here to stay and not wrestled back by the forces of the damned pre war sentiment of knowing your place. The 60s was all about the revolution, the counter culture and the moving away from pre-destined supposition; it was time to Shake It Up Baby and start to take a chance in life.

Belief, the hope in what we do, what we choose to judge as being correct and good for us, good for our souls, can sometimes be the very worst thing imaginable but it is there to lead you to another place and that is where your belief eventually wins out.

The joy it brings to the heart when you see four wonderful performers on stage and they give everything to the part as if they are truly living in it, they are breathing each character, especially when the play demands that you perform the difficult task of multiple roles; it is one that can raise the heaviest of hearts from their slumber and give thanks for local theatre.

In each role, the cast, Neil MacDonald, Julian Feria, the ever astonishing Hayley Hampson and the remarkable Jackie Jones, playing her finest ever role on stage and with so much conviction, spirit and belief that the heart swelled arguably with much pride in every audience member, had the crowd in tears, laughter and compassionate agreement in equal and stunning measure.

With Jackie Jones playing the die-hard Beatles fan who wants to live a little, Neil MacDonald oozing with charm and style, Julian Feria giving tremendous light to each role and the charming Hayley Hampson performing with utter conviction roles from the wedding obsessed blind date, the up market brains behind the Lonely Hearts web site and the disinterested shop assistant, this performance just added more substance to her already burgeoning C.V., Shake It Up Baby is a production that just gives the audience a pure night out for every minute it is performed.

Suzan Holder’s exceptional play is in perfect hands in the director, Francesca Goodridge, and the exceptional cast; a play which captures the heart of love and allows music to keep the soul grounded; a true arrow in the bow, one that hits the spot on each delivered line.

Ian D. Hall