Venue: York Theatre Royal
Runs: 5-8 September
Imagine a standard night out and the lead-up to it, followed by a heavy night of inebriation complete with appalling dancing to chart music and various failed attempts to pull. The next day is a complete blur. This is the picture that was painted by John Godber’s play, Bouncers being performed at the York Theatre Royal. The play was first put on in 1977, undergoing fresh takes for each new generation, but still retained the not too classy nightclub called ‘Asylum’ as its setting.
The play was performed by only four actors, the ‘bouncers’, who were all recognisable faces, from soaps such as Eastenders, Hollyoaks and Coronation Street. The actors flitted between various roles, acting not only as the jaded door staff of the club, but a group of four girls out for a 21st birthday, and four young guys going out in the pursuit of women. The comedy, which turned out to be a lot darker than at first portrayed, was an interesting reflection on our binge drinking society, especially with young girls appearing to be ‘18 going on 35’ and the loss of their innocence through the pressure society places upon them. The stamina of the four actors was impressive and the forth wall was evidently broken, with audience members reacting expressively to the actors, who kept their engagement throughout.
There were some great one liners and genuinely very funny slap-stick like moments, such as one of the guys unfortunately getting a little too excitable when dancing with a girl. Nonetheless, I did feel the audience may have enjoyed the play a little more than me, purely as I feel it was more directed at an older audience, even though I could appreciate a lot of moments, such as the guys attempting to get the bar staff’s attention in Revolution. Even though the play has been refreshed for a younger generation, it slightly missed the mark of the clubbing scene at the moment, which is to be expected, as not usually do many shows depicting student ages get it quite right.
However, the audience did love it and believed it to be highly realistic, which was expressed to me by the couple I sat next to. Overall, it was interesting to see the outlook of the bouncers on how young people are on nights out. The tone at the climax of the performance was slightly sour towards people our age, which seems to be an enduring sentiment felt towards the younger generation; enabling the play to still retain its majority appeal after thirty years of being performed. Overall I feel that I may have enjoyed the performance more if I was a little bit older and not a student with supposed ‘shit for brains’ as it was so sweetly put.