John Godber’s Bouncers shows a night on the town from the viewpoint of the ubiquitous men on the door – they who have the power to make or break your night with the crooking of a finger or a ‘sorry, not dressed like that’.
This piece of storytelling from Godber is funny and energetic and no matter how many times you have seen it there is always something new. Whether it is a character subtly altered, a change of accent or the way an actor stands, it is always different.
Four cast members play the titular Bouncers plus every character they meet or, in the case of the sleazy DJ, who they work with down at Mr Cinders nightclub.
The doormen are: Lucky Eric, Leon Ratcliffe; Judd, Rob Tunley; Les, Tim Robinson and Ralph, Daniel Tunks.
Between them they also play a pair of Scousers, punks with mohicans, a group of lads on the razz, girls out on a 21st, a hairdresser and a barber, actors in a porn film and the man who rents them the ‘bluey’, a tickety-boo toff looking for ‘just one more bottle of Champers’ as well as giving their opinions on the seedy world of a Friday night out in a northern town and life in general.
From the lads on the pull to the birthday girls looking for romance, the actors portray their subjects with few props and minor alterations to their body language as they paint a vivid picture of the human need for company and lots and lots of alcohol.
Within the various characters they play all have a chance to shine and shine they do. However, Leon’s Lucky Eric has that thousand yard stare that only the more seriously deranged bouncers have.
If you’ve ever been out in town late at night and wondered about maybe having a last pint in a club as all the pubs are shut – Lucky Eric’s place of work is one you would avoid.
During the day you may be mates with Eric, but when darkness descends – you don’t want to be anywhere near him. Yes, he still has his sense of humour but there is something dark lurking in the shadows and Leon Ratcliffe conveys that sense of menace to the club-going public and his fellow bouncers brilliantly.
Directed by John Bowness and choreographed by Katie Haywood, Bouncers brought my nights at Sadies, Clouds and the Pink Coconut, in Derby, vividly back to life. Sadly.
Bouncers is on at Burton’s Brewhouse arts centre until Saturday, every night at 7.30pm and with a Saturday matinee at 2.30pm. Tickets are available from the Brewhouse box office on 01283 508100.