Hampshire-based Black Box Theatre Company very nearly made it across the border into West Sussex with their tour of the John Godber classic Bouncers.
But poor ticket sales forced the cancellation of their Chidham date. And that’s a huge shame. West Sussex has missed a treat.
Bouncers is Godber’s tale of the original men in black, four Yorkshiremen – not of the Monty Python variety, but four bouncers lording it over an 80s nightclub.
It’s a show which – obviously – requires four bouncers. But it also requires those bouncers to play four girls getting ready and enjoying (to varying degrees!) their night out. It also requires them to play four lads on the prowl for a bit of late-night gratification.
The bouncers also need to play the porn stars in the blue movie they watch – plus all manner of other characters who flit past our eyes, from the cheesy DJ to the taxi driver via a late-night kebab seller. All of brash, breezy and slightly seedy life is here.
In other words, it’s a massive challenge for the foursome playing those bouncers.
But it is one that director Chris Hawley masterminds to near perfection, with a sureness of touch which suggests Black Box Theatre Company isn’t a name to note for the future. It’s a name to note right now.
Hawley gives it pace and keeps it vibrant, but in truth it is impossible to tell where the skill of the director meets the skill of the actors. Nigel Luck, Callum Smiles, David Parker and Marcus Churchill – bouncers from the moment we arrive and also there to see us off – offer tours de force, each and every one of them.
Fabulous stuff. They differentiate their succession of characters beautifully, but they also work wonderfully well together, razor sharp throughout, never dropping a line.
The piece plays straight through in an hour and 20 – and fizzes with energy. If your immediate reaction is that you’ve already seen Bouncers a few too many times, then think again. A very special new company gives it brilliant new life.
And then they line up to see you off the premises. Impressive. Very impressive indeed.
So come on, West Sussex, let’s get our act together – and make sure we give them a warmer welcome on their next tour.
Just a few dates remain – see www.fernehamhall.co.uk/whats-on/theatre/bouncers
NOVEMBER 8 – BURSLEDON Village Hall
NOVEMBER 10 – WICKHAM, Wickham Park Golf Club (CALL 01329 833342 FOR TICKETS)
NOVEMBER 11 – CHURCH CROOKHAM, Community Centre http://www.churchcrookham.org.uk/community-