“Here we go, here we go, here we go” and we’re off on a rollicking journey through a night out with lads on the lash, ladies coiffed and high-heeled and the titular burly Bouncers who see it all. Rushing from hairdressers to pubs, from taxis to dance floors and ending with “a burp of an orgasm” behind the fire door amongst the discarded kebabs and condom wrappers, the highs and lows of weekend nights are laid bare in John Godber’s 1977 classic.
Watching it in 2010 you might find the content of these nights a little tame. There’s ale, brandy and sex but no drugs or gang-related violence. But while some of the antics may seem a little out-dated the play still exposes some real truths - young girls do dress up “18 going on 35” because they think they have to and men can like all shapes and sizes at 2am.
The power of this play however is not necessarily to be found in its social commentary but rather in its presentation. Using monologue, fast-paced verse and fluid conversation the energy and chaos of a night out is created by four men, on an empty stage using minimal props.
Antony Law, David Bauckham, Luke Stevenson and Simon Higgins do a good job of switching seamlessly between the boozing boys, giggling girls and heavyweight bouncers, all the while keeping up with the rushing script. That said, while their character acting is undoubtedly up to scratch, the movement choreography could certainly be tighter. The repeating movements mirroring repeating verse lacks precision and so loses its full effectiveness.
But at least this production, directed by Antony Law, brings the play to vivid life and proves that Bouncers still resonates more than 30 years on. And perhaps the best thing about this night out is that the next day you aren't left feeling even a little bit worse for wear!
- Laura Norman