Theatre in Wales

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Wildly entertaining

Bouncers

Black Rat Productions , Depot Studio, Arts Wing, Swansea Grand Theatre , November-07-09
Bouncers by Black Rat Productions In all my years of visiting the Grand’s Depot Studio, I have never seen a standing ovation for any performance, let alone taken part in one – but the opening night of this wildly entertaining piece of theatre from Black RAT Productions changed all that, with the capacity crowd rising as one to express their overwhelming appreciation.

Mike Doyle, Gareth Bale, Sam Davies and Richard Tunley star as four nightclub bouncers working on the door of Cinderella’s, a nightclub which attracts a wide variety of characters intent on having a good time: the actors play more than 20 roles during the course of this sublimely constructed comedy, including a quartet of splendidly sizzled women (who perform the time-honoured ritual of dancing around their handbags) and a group of leery lads with an insatiable appetite for alcohol.

John Godber’s script – cleverly updates to give the piece an air of immediacy – is an object lesson in how to convey honest vulgarity without recourse to over crudity, and the actors seize upon well-drawn characters with relish.

In the midst of the frenetic energy and clever comedic exchanges, there are also more reflective moments underpinned with genuine pathos: Mike Doyle’s thick-eared character Lucky Eric, in particular, gets a chance to show his sensitive and caring side in a series of thought-provoking monologues which are delivered with absolute conviction.

One of the smartest devices employed here is that the audience is greeted by the bouncers prior to the start of the play (some of us were even frisked in the bar during the interval): this is a great way of drawing the crowd into the action, and adds much to the buzz surrounding this superlative production.

In short, a triumph.

Reviewed by: Graham Williams

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