John Godber’s awarding winning play ‘Bouncers’ is back doing the rounds and is manning the stage at the New Vic.
Review by Mel Osborne 5 stars
This show first premiered in 1977 at the Edinburgh festival and has been one of the most performed shows in the country. The idea stemmed from Godbers experience as an older teenager of the excitement he and his friends would have getting ready for a night out.
Today’s version of the show has changed with passing trends and is set in the eighties – an era of fabulous cheesy music and even cheesier DJs.
The show focuses on four very well dressed shiny shoed bouncers – Lucky Eric, Les Judd and Ralph who man the door at Mr Cinders – a Yorkshire club in the mid-eighties, keeping the rif raf out and letting the beautiful people in.
The play focuses on one Friday night out at the club. We follow the boys and the girls getting ready for their big night out, the excitement of finding love, the disappointment of finding nothing but sick on your shoe and the horror of realising you have no money left for the week.
As the shows starts the four bouncers wearing immaculate suits and shiny shoes pace the floor, keeping watch and making sure you are behaving yourself.
The genius of this show is that there are minimal props, yet you can believe everything due to the skill and expertise of the actors. The four actors play many characters and as a four they work together like a machine, en pointe with every character changes. Even by closely studying their faces each character change is flawless.
A sparkly handbag indicates the difference between the girls and the boys. But we can see the clothes, hair and smell the impulse body spray all through expert mime and expression.
The script is a mixture of poetry and prose. It is hilarious with witty one liners and put downs. At first, we are lulled into the crazy excitement of the prep for a night out. Everything seems great.
Eighties Britain seems great, everything is straightforward with no worries apart from having a good night out.
Towards the end of the night we see the frustration and disappointment of a night out without finding love or a good time but they know they will do it all again next week. Just like we did!
This is a timeless classic, it is fun, cheeky and incredibly observant. As well as the laughter there are the bittersweet speeches of Lucky Eric fantastically played by Frazer Hammil. He reflects on the seedier side of the nightclub experience, the objectification of women and men competing with each other over their masculinity. That the eighties weren’t the fun time we all think we remember.
This definitely a bucket list play for theatre goers. It is lively, engaging and just so very clever! Definitely 5 stars!
Bouncers is at the New Vic Theatre until Saturday 1 April. More information here
(Main image Bryan Fowler. L-R George Reid, Frazer Hammill, Lamin Touray, Tom Whittaker)
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