Writer and Director: John Godber
Designer: Pip Leckenby
Reviewer: Laura Stimpson
The Public Reviews Rating:
“The shots are slamming and the cocktails are flowing free. Susie and the girls are out on the town, Kev and hit mates are up for anything! Slow dances & quick gropes, high hopes & dented dreams, chips & late-night kebabs – and the Bouncers see it all!”
Bouncers is John Godber’s most famous play having been performed across the World for many years now. Tonight the show is in Bradford as part of the 35th Anniversary tour, only a few miles from the club where Godber was originally inspired to write this play, Kiko’s in Pontefract, West Yorkshire.
“Four girls out to have fun, four boys out to pull girls, four men who have seen it all before.”
In brief, Bouncers is a story about the clubbing scene from three perspectives: the Bouncers, of course, a group of girls celebrating a 21st birthday and a group of young men on a lads night out. The Bouncers effortlessly change between roles taking just one prop and adapting their stance to adopt the persona of the new character.
The girls are very camp and stereotypes are played out: flirting, drinking and dancing around handbags. The lads are, well laddish, we watch while they down drinks, vomit and even catch them at the urinals.
Set in Asylum, the stage looks like the outside of any nightclub, a lit up sign with the name of the club with a concrete exterior and nothing more than a few beer barrels for props. The set is effective and functional, setting the scene for this wild night out.
What isn’t said is often more powerful that what is. Bouncers combines mime and poetry, there are large moments of silence but this play has the unique ability to keep the audiences attention throughout and often the most hilarious moments come from mime.
This all-star cast of four, Ace Bhatti, Don Gilet, William Ilkley and Ian Reddington are no strangers to the stage or screen and all four are outstanding. This is a true ensemble performance, each actor plays multiple parts with great vigour, transforming from one character to the next effortlessly. They inject the right mix of humour, energy and satire throughout this demanding performance.
John Godber himself is the star of the show. It’s hard to credit Godber enough for this well written script and beautifully crafted stage production. Godber’s writing is timeless, yes it has been updated since the 70’s, but the concept is just as relevant even 35 years on. This play is one that certainly appeals to the masses, if you’ve ever been clubbing or even just through a city centre on a Friday night, you won’t be able to help being drawn into this hilarious play.
The only gripe is about the sound, the actors aren’t miked, and to ensure they are heard at times the music appears to be coming from a cd player on stage meaning that the impact of the music isn’t felt.
Bouncers is a high energy, funny, entertaining show relevant to the masses. The cast are fantastic, the writing is great and you’ll be sure to leave feeling uplifted.