If you’re a fan of Guy Ritchie’s outlandish films about British working class blokes (like Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and Snatch) then BOUNCERS is the comedy for you. As you may have perceived, BOUNCERS (playing through April 27th—they may add a few more shows—check at their website: stickballproductions.com) is set in and around a scrappy English after hours club, with bouncers to keep the order. Fittingly, you can see the play up close and personal in a hole-in-the-wall club in Central Square.
John Godber’s gritty slice of raucous nightlife was a big hit in the U.K. but this is its first outing in New England. Director Bill Doncaster raises the energy—and the decibels—to fever pitch. You can feel the reverberations of a packed nightspot at the Cantab, as soon as the four bouncers (who play everyone else, too) start to chant and shout and sing, “Get down, Get up and Get Together.”
There’s little plot (one character has a through line) but who cares? The dialogue is outrageous and their off the wall antics keep you convulsed. They embrace the raunchy with gusto, as if they have no idea it’s offensive. The playwright switches situations and characters back and forth very quickly and thanks to the crackerjack cast, you know immediately where you are (even without a set). They’re the bouncers, then they’re drunken wannabes trying to get past the gate. They’re four girls celebrating a birthday, they’re clueless headbangers, they’re in a hair salon, they’re in the loo. My favorite bits were the Mohawk coiffed punks wanting admission and a Swedish video which had been played too many times.
Joe Siriani as “Lucky” Eric makes you feel truly sorry for his streak of bad breaks. Poor lug, the ex-wife even comes into his club with a new guy just to rub it in. Siriani shows us his mass of conflicting emotions just below the surface. He wants to be kind. He wants to protect the women he sees making fools of themselves—but he’s plenty angry and he wants revenge.
Put a creepy red light on James Bocock and he’s the nasty deejay who thinks up contests just to get the women to take off their knickers and bras. Patrick Curran only has to widen his eyes to scare away “undesirables” at the door and as for Seyi Ayorinde, he has charisma to spare. Everone plays female, too, a la Monty Python, in a style that’s audacious but not quite caricature. BOUNCERS is rank. BOUNCERS is raw…but it’s funny as hell, too.