BOUNCERS by John Godber
Djanogly Theatre, Lakeside.
John Godber in my humble opinion is a National Treasure and one of Britain's best playwrights, I may even stretch that to the world, after all his plays have been performed world wide. John creates characters that we can all recognise and brings forth the real person from the character. He writes in a language that is not over our heads and tells it as it is, and that's what makes characters like Lucky Eric, Judd, Les and Ralph, the bouncers in "Bouncers" so endearing to watch.
And I do mean endearing because you half feel sorry for the job they do, what they have to put up with and the idiots that they have to deal with. And on the other hand there is a lot of comedy, warmth and humanity in the characters, especially Lucky Eric (Robert Hudson).
Lucky Eric is the grandaddy of the bouncers and he has trained the others up. He has seen it all and by way of the three monologues he delivers, he paints the often tragic picture of nightclub life and the patrons of Mr Cinders. It's the 1980's and it's Friday night, the music is vibrating, the atmosphere intoxicating and there is expectancy in the air for the lads and the ladies, both sexes wanting to cop off, and all under the watchful eyes of the Mr Cinder bouncers.
The four actors, Robert, Chris Hannon, Frazer Hammill and Adrian Hood play several characters from hairdressers and barbers to the male and female clientele, the punters as well as the bouncers. It's a testament to these actors that they can make you believe one minute that they are Rosie, or Kev, or the club DJ, Dave Doubledecks and as soon as they change character, you also see the different character they play, all this without a change of costume and only four handbags and four beer barrels as props.
Every character is so well crafted and you can see them all in any pub or club up and down the country, which make the stories they tell so real. Although it is set in the 80's, the play is timeless and just by changing the musical theme from Frankie Goes To Hollywood, Deniece Williams, Haywoode, The Weather Girls or any other of the classic party songs from that era to another decade, this play could work just as well because the story and the humour works for every generation.
There are the "lads" out on the pull, the one that gets the stunner, who is usually drunk anyway, and his mate who has to play wingman and "occupy" the ugly one, the toilet talk from both sides. the full colourful nightlife of the late teens and twenty somethings. And that has not changed from when I was there!
For me it's a trip down memory lane, for the students that were in the audience, this will be their average Friday/Saturday night in any Nottingham watering hole/club. But there is also a serious warning here about drinking too much and the dangers of being female and not in total control due to over indulging.
The music is great, let's face it, it's the 80's. the lighting, which is of great importance in this play is the design of Graham Kirk and is, if you'll pardon the pun, spot on and very effective.
It's very funny, sharp, at times bordering on the emotional due to Lucky Eric's outpourings and showcases John Godber's eye for the what makes the ordinary folk tick and highlights the common man, and woman with all of their habits, speech and their little foibles, and I loved it.
"Bouncers" is only on until Saturday 21 March 2015 and is really not to be missed plus it is something that anyone over the age of 14 will love.