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March 24, 2008 | by  | in Theatre |
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After some scathing txt-based criticism from my sister (‘…they jst seemd lyk a bunch 0v guys hu gt 2 getha 2 swear al0t nd du a bit 0v a dance’ [sic]), I went into Bouncers prepared for the worst. Maybe I’d just gotten laid, maybe I’d just gotten stoned or maybe I was just in a good mood for some reason; at any rate, I really enjoyed myself. Aside from some shortfallings, such as diction and clarity of speech, I thought that Bouncers was thoroughly entertaining.

Having just spent the day doing some intensive reading on Judith Butler, I found that Bouncers totally encapsulated her theory of performativity (the idea that we ‘cite’ the traits of gender in order to produce ourselves as the gender we are performing as), for which I was damn thankful as I was pretty confused by the reading and was starting to feel like I was a bit dumb. According to the programme, the play had a total of twenty-four different characters, ranging from drunk punks to giggling girls. The actors (Charles Masina, Robert Bullen, Zack Wi-Neera and Shaun Martin) were able to slide in and out of these varying personas with stunning ease and swiftness, exhibiting a varied and diverse selection of characterisations. The results were much more convincing than I had anticipated.

The four bouncers’ outfits of dress pants, dress shirts and leather jackets were not only visually powerful, but were also a nice way of including a kind of neutral theatre black which helped the actors move through their various characters with ease. The black of the costumes also maintained a sense of unity within the space as a whole, which was bare apart from a velvet barrier arm to the rear of the stage. By keeping the aesthetic of the show grounded in black, the performers and their actions were accentuated and became the show’s most prominent feature.

The choral aspect of Bouncers had been worked quite hard, and for the most part, to decent effect. Much in the fashion of a Greek chorus, the group made use of song, rhythm and dance. Some of these segments were better rehearsed than others, however, and there were some moments when the guys were blatantly out of time. Aside from this, I enjoyed the team feeling that the choral work created.

It has to be said that the show was a bit long, and lost a bit of oomph towards the end. This could have been rectified with a bit of cutting.

Aside from a few setbacks, I thought that Bouncers was a really good show. The performers were brave and uninhibited, and I thought that the content itself was quite amusing. Given that the International Arts Festival is a pretty tough act to follow, I felt that these guys did well.

Written by John Gobder
Directed by Richard Finn
At Bats, Mar 13 – 29

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