Bouncers – November 2008

10/10

By John Godber

Directed by Keith Hukin

Reform Theatre Company

Mill Studio

Friday 14th November 2008

Excellent play, excellent performances, and only inches from where we were sitting most of the time. This was great fun.

The four actors play three different groups; the bouncers at a Sheffield disco in the eighties, a group of four women celebrating one of their number’s 21st birthday, and four men on the pull. It’s a compilation of all the sorts of things that happen on a Friday night in the pulsating heart of a big city, or something like that.

The bouncers were all in suits, and hardly moved an unnecessary muscle. They were well hard. Their dialogue took a long time coming, but we gradually learn that Lucky Eric, head bouncer, is having difficulty coping with his wife leaving him, especially as she flaunts her stuff down at his disco, trying to get a new man. He’s also having trouble with Judd, another bouncer, who clearly feels he should be top dog. The others are OK with Eric, but the tension still builds through the evening.

The girls were wonderful. No costume changes here, just a few props – handbags and the like – and we’re in a different world. With all the doubling, there were a few jokes based on thinking one actor was playing somebody else, but there was no confusion for the audience. They nailed us women good.

The blokes were also shown in all their unattractiveness. A scene in the gents, with all four pissing in a line, was a real treat, and hilariously funny, running through just about all the urinal jokes you could wish for. With a bit of careful switching, a couple of the lads nearly got off with a couple of the girls, but nothing much came of it, despite the bouncers commenting about the after effects of a Friday night – “Durex lay like dead Smurfs” – great line.

One recurring motif was Lucky Eric’s speeches. These were introduced very dramatically by the other bouncers, as Eric’s first speech, second speech, etc. There was a bit of over-enthusiasm from the audience by the time we got to the fourth (and final) speech, which they handled very well, and it all added to the fun. Eric was joined by the others in a rendition of an Elvis Presley number (I’ve completely forgotten which one), which was lovely. In fact, the whole performance was perfect in every way, and showed what great talent these four chaps have. There was loads of humour, and every scene worked really well. I especially liked the changes from one group of characters to another. A brilliant evening, and a play I’ll be very happy to see again.

© 2008 Sheila Evans at ilovetheatre.me

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