Review: Bouncers at the Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough


Not everyone has experienced a night out in a club, perhaps drinking too much and suffering the effects.

However, many in the Stephen Joseph audience were prepared to admit they had, and those that hadn’t were given a a taste of the sights and the sounds, the highs and the lows of the peculiar human activity that is clubbing.

John Godber’s popular play demands that four highly versatile actors run through theatrical styles as varied as pantomime, Greek tragedy, slapstick, farce, stand-up and disco dancing. The result is a journey that has some of the disgust with humanity of a Jonathan Swift, but also the warmth and sympathy of an Arnold Wesker.

Robert Hudson, who plays Lucky Eric, the central character, is actually fully qualified as a ‘Door Supervisor’. I bet he’s a good one. His ability to project menace was enough to intimidate me – safely distant, second row from the back.

Equalling Eric in his apparent potential for violence is Judd, played by Adrian Hood. His bulky frame, squeezed into a dinner jacket, epitomises all the big men who do this dangerous job. He also plays a particularly sympathetic female, the one who always gets left behind when the pairing up begins.

However, when it comes to switching into the female roles, the most convincing is Chris Hannon as Ralph. He has had plenty of practice since for the last four years he has been the resident pantomime dame at the Theatre Royal, Wakefield.

Completing the quartet is Les, played by Frazer Hammill. Physically smaller than the rest, he does what all good actors do in assuming a role, he convinces the audience that he really is that person. I wonder how his pastiche duet, with Chris Hannon, of the Harry Enfield Scousers, goes down on Merseyside?

Securely grounded in the Wakefield/Pontefract area Bouncers is performed around the world.

John Godber insists that he does not adapt the play to differing regional audiences.

Perhaps, as we watch the action unfold, we all recognise and share in a little of the desperation of those clubbers who drink to excess to find meaning in their lives.

Bouncers runs at the Stephen Joseph Theatre until Saturday.

Performances are Friday May 15 at 7.30pm and Saturday May 16 at 2.30pm and 7.30pm.

Review Mike Tilling