Wednesday, 19 July 2017

“Bouncers” by Regis Theatre Company
Duchess Theatre, Long Eaton
Lucky Eric, Judd, Les and Ralph are the original men in black as they tell the tale of one night in a Yorkshire disco in the 80’s. All the gang are out on the town, the boys, the girls, the cheesy DJ, the late night kebab man and the taxi home, all under the watchful eyes of the Bouncers.
Set in the 1980s at a Northern Night Spot, the play features the four doormen (or Bouncers) who play multiple parts to reflect the goings on at the club. Try imagining four beefy bouncers dancing round their pink handbags when discussing a hen party and you’ll have some idea of the kind of thing that will have you in stitches.
John Godber's plays are always incredibly popular and he has an eye for the ridiculous in the common man, which is what makes his plays so down to earth and enjoyable. You can see traits in all of Godber’s characters in someone you know, or may have known in the past. Godber is an observer of people which is why his characters are so realistic.
It has been known for me to well up at emotional plays but tonight I was in tears. Tears of laughter, they were literally rolling down my cheeks.
Having seen "Bouncers" before I knew that it had funny bones, but this cast brought out more comedy in this play than I had ever remembered it to have. In parts it may not have been quite as Godber had written but when you have a cast that have the professional capacity to cover forgotten lines and corpsing and still have the audience rolling around, you know you've got a winner on your hands.
Unfortunately "Bouncers" was only on for two nights, Wednesday being the second of two, so I can only report what you've sadly missed. Hopefully Regis and this cast may revisit "Bouncers" later down the line, but will they be able to reproduce this level of hilarity. That's the wonderful thing about live theatre, you never get to see the same production, exactly the same, every night.
Director Ollie Turner and Assistant Director and Production manager, Maureen Tierney, launched Regis Theatre Company with a smash. The play needs little scenery apart from four beer kegs and a door, minimal props and four brilliant actors. The play was the perfect choice, as was the casting.
Adam Guest plays “Lucky Eddie” who has some wonderful, at times poetic monologues, which also shows the more human and softer side of the burly bouncer. A lovely contrast to the comic characters Adam also plays here. like the kebab/hot dog man.
Kheenan Jones is Judd, sexually frustrated hard case. All four actors play all the characters and seeing burly Kheenan prance around the stage playing one of the "girls" with a pink handbag over his shoulder, dancing to "Girls Just Want To Have Fun" and trying to french kiss one of the drunkard "lads" in the play was a scream.
Mik Horvath's main "Bouncer" character is Les, always looking for a fight. His drunk acting and slurred speech was pure comedy classic,as was his "girly" character.
Last but by no means least is Tom Preston as Ralph. He may have been the smallest in stature but his presence was big. Apparently not only his presence is big as we are told by one of the "lads" in the gents toilet scene!
All brilliant banter we've all all experienced in out younger days when out on the town and on the pull with the lads, after all it is Friday night at Mr Cinders, the hottest night spot in Yorkshire with the cheesiest DJ, also played by Tom.
There's a classic scene when the Bouncers have finished their shift and they are watching a "Svedish blue movie" acted out by Adam and Tom.Absolutely hilarious, as was the scene in the taxi.
From entering the theatre, right through to the ushering out, the four bouncers stayed perfectly in character, creating the perfect atmosphere for the play.
They got the audience on their side straight off with "The Bouncers Rap", all the way through to "Thriller" at the close.
It's one of the best comedies I've seen for a long time and if this is where Regis's road starts, I can see a long and fruitful journey for them
“Bouncers” concluded tonight, Wednesday 19 July 2017 but I was so pleased to have my name on the list to see this smash of a production.

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