Whitehall Theatre, London SW1
Opened 2 February, 2001

The 1977 play which put John Godber on the map is still good for an evening of brash in-your-face fun.

Bouncers has been Hull Truck Theatre's greatest hit for years, although now in a version of the 1991 "remix". The songs on the soundtrack change (these days it's the Bloodhound Gang and Fatboy Slim) and so do some of the pop-culture references ("You are the weakest link goodbye!" and a mere 14 minutes from curtain to the obligatory "Whazzup!").  Elsewhere, though, favourite routines cling on even though they are now out of time: the Thriller-style dance routine, for instance, or the pedestrian old-skool rap which opens and closes the show. But the characters are universal and timeless: the quartet of tuxedoed night-club "security", and the various kinds of clientele.

Director Gareth Tudor Price drills the four actors tightly, though not with surgical precision, through the various segments, and Andrew Dunn handles Lucky Eric's Third Speech (now a favourite student audition piece) with quiet power. Most surprising is author Godber himself, who exploits his huge and fearsome stature not by acting the heavy on stage but by camping it up ludicrously. Bouncers is now a tried and trusted brand: buy it, and you know exactly what you're getting.

Written for

Copyright © Ian Shuttleworth; all rights reserved.

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