As a venue Richmond, theatre provides a perfect platform for the staging of British playwright John Godber’s outrageous comedy ‘Bouncers’. The play ‘Bouncers’ explores the dynamics of working class pub and nightclub culture and offers the audience a remarkably in-depth comedic look at the world of nightclub revelry. John Godber’s unrefined comedy ensures that people are able to identify the familiar routines of recognizable characters while being struck by the basic absurdity of the situations in which these characters find themselves.
As soon as you enter the theatre you are greeted by the four actors who are in role, immaculately attired in black suits realistically imitating bouncers. This sets a vibrant atmosphere and it is a great way to begin a play. Throughout the play, the bouncers familiarize us to how their regulars behave before, during and after a visit to the club. Each actor plays up to three or four roles each.
The play is funny, witty and downright farcical at times, but is underscored with a message: that these bouncers’ lives are bleak, meaningless and pathetic.The play is not at all subtle. The production was very professionally handled. The sets were simplistic but effective, wit great use of lights and basic props.
The characters are challenging in that each cast member is required to use voice and gesture alone to switch from drunken to trashy club tart and back to bouncer again. The truly hilarious moments, which make me laugh just thinking about them include the switch from hard bouncer to desperate party girl and transformation from serious guy to sexy but shy Suzy also seen as the club tart.All four bouncers switch role from tarted up girls to pissed guys. The actors do not change their costumes during the play, instead the characters gestures and voice, help the audience to identify the sex of the character, the only prop used is a handbag.
The facial expressions and gestures create costumes and scenery in our head automatically. One character namely Eric presented the audience with four monologues in-between the play, expressing his thoughts and feelings as a bouncer, this added realism to the production and did not portray bouncers in a stereotypical manner.By the time Eric had completed his forth and final speech the audience were not only drawn into an appreciation of the comedy but also of the very human desire for weekend oblivion and the tangible emotions of hope, frustration and self loathing that makes ‘Bouncers’ such stimulating entertainment. When the monologue was being performed, the lighting differed, having only Eric in sight, which informed the audience that he was the focus of the scene.
The music used for dancing and changing scene was contemporary, the bouncers were of differing ages starting from about 30 years old and upwards, their age gave us an instant impression that they were to be serious and well behaved which is a stereo typical image of middle aged men, but to our astonishment they began dancing like ballerina’s and little boys and ways in which we would not have expected, this left the audience gob smacked and began the suspense, as we as audience felt we were unable to guess what was going to happen next.Overall, ‘Bouncers’ is a play where the audience has a role to play, as our sympathy is required and our opinion, which is conveyed by our laughter and facial expressions. Despite the heavy-handed approach to the theme, it is an entertaining way to spend a couple of hours.