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  • Bouncers is 'exhilarating and exhausting'

    By Ron Ellis

    John Godber’s Bouncers by Maurice Bessman

    Royal Court Theatre, Liverpool

    JOHN Godber has done two rewrites of Bouncers since his original 1977 script but this new version, by The Boisterous Theatre Company and adapted by Terriers author, Maurice Bessman, is a totally different animal from the original production and ten times wilder.

    Directed by Miriam Mussa, it puts the spotlight on what it involves being a nightclub bouncer (or ‘door supervisors’ as they are today!) and the challenges they face in an average night at the club.

    With a cast of just four men, and four large boxes on a bare stage, with a booming background of soul music played by D.J. Spykatcha, it perfectly captures the clubland atmosphere.

    Things can get out of hand quickly. Who to let in, who to keep out. Most of the punters are there basically to get drunk and ‘cop off’. The undercurrent of violence is ever present and this comes across in the show.

    Joe Speare (Lucky Eric) Michael Horsley (Les), Mutty Burman (Judd) and Zain Salim (Ralph) make up the quartet who break-dance and fight at a frenetic, non-stop pace throughout the whole two hours, their moves carried out with a precision worthy of circus acrobats, thanks to Zain Sallim who doubles as movement director.

    As well as being bouncers, each of the actors also convincingly takes on the personas of over 20 different types of punters, male and female, who frequent the club.

    When they break into song, their harmony vocalising could match any American soul band. It is no surprise that Joe Speare was once in the U.S. chart-topping group, chairman of the board.

    All the cameos depicting the relationships between the bouncers and the clientele are spot on while, in rare moments of quiet philosophising, Lucky Eric warns of the dangers for young girls, plied with drink, being submitted to unwelcome sexual advances and pontificates about the advance of the transgender generation.

    Nothing if not up to date.

    Star rating: 7 out of 10. Authentic, exhilarating and exhausting.

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