Bouncers by John Godber.

Set in the tranquil grounds of Furzey Gardens in Minstead, Blackbox Box present three nights’ performances of Bouncers as part of their “On Tour” production directed by Chris Hawley.

Life was very different back in the 1980s, I had forgotten just how much. Sexism, homophobia, inappropriate sexual behaviour and blatant name-calling were all part of the social culture. Thankfully things have progressed since then although music was a great part of that decade.

The four Bouncers see the world through the eyes of violence, lecherous behaviour and homophobia. What’s astounding watching these four interacting with one another is I recognised the attitudes from my times of going out to pubs and clubs. Notoriously renowned for starting fights, refusing people entry just because they could and generally all round unpleasant if the Bouncers decided they wanted to be.

Meet the cast of Bouncers who dominate much of the evening. Lucky Eric (Kevin Hallett), Les(David McCulloch), Judd (Scarlett Briant) and Ralph (Michael Godwin-Grist). Who not only socially comment on a typical evening out of the time but also gave you an insight into what they got up to after a shift it is certainly an eye-opener.

There’s an insightful part to the performance where the older bouncer Lucky Eric, shares three insightful thoughts about situations he sees taking place that leaves him feeling uncomfortable. One of which takes place between one female and four males. The men are taking advantage of her in full view of the crowded pub. These days it would be classed as sexual assault, back then it was just Christmas fun!

I was extremely impressed by the Goodwin-Grist whose comedic performance, facial expressions and mannerisms reminded me of the late great comedy genius Rik Mayall. Certainly, a contender if anyone wanted to make a film about Mayall’s life in the future. You read it here first.

There is a good mixture of humour, and banter running alongside moments of uncomfortable sexism which is to be expected at times, we are in the 1980s after all, when being gay was still illegal and women were treated more like an object than a mans equal.

Tracks of the era played throughout the production bought back memories of watching Wham Rap by Wham, Girls Just Wanna have fun by Cyndi Lauper Michael Jackson’s Thriller on Top of the Pops and listening to them on Radio 1.

For more information about Blackbox Theatre and its current tour dates please use the links below.

Four Stars.

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