Raising the bar: Raucous slice of nightclub life coming to Daylesford
Sex, rowdiness, drinking and lots of laughs: it’s all there in ‘Bouncers’ the latest play being performed by the Bermuda Musical and Dramatic Society.
Written by John Godber, it lays out the grittiness of the nightclub scene in the late 1970s and early 1980s as it follows four bouncers in the North of England.
“The bouncers talk about the young girls and young lads out on the town; people getting drunk and doing things they probably wouldn’t do when they were sober,” said BMDS actor Jennifer Burrell-Jones. “The language is quite strong. It is a very racy play. It is real life. There is nothing sugar-coated about it. It is about what goes on after 2am when the nightclub is closed and what goes on behind the nightclub. It has been quite fun.”
Mr Godber’s plays are said to be the third most performed in England, behind William Shakespeare and Alan Ayckbourn. Although well known for ‘Up ‘n Under’ and ‘Teechers’, ‘Bouncers’, written in 1977, is one of his most popular.
“At the moment we are lucky to have it in Bermuda,” said Mrs Burrell-Jones. “They are currently doing a revival of it in the United Kingdom, and it will be going on tour. [BMDS director] Robbie Godfrey has been wanting to put on ‘Bouncers’ as a play reading or play for some time.”
Mrs Burrell-Jones is one of four performers including Mr Godfrey, Owain Johnston-Barnes and Donna Nicholson. They play 20 characters between them.
“Originally, it was written for four men,” said Mrs Burrell-Jones. “I have looked on the internet and I have not been able to find another performance of ‘Bouncers’ that used women. It can be a challenge, because we switch quickly from the bouncers to girls or guys at the nightclub without any scene change. You just go straight from dialogue as bouncers to dialogue as the other characters.”
This will be her first appearance on stage since her son Jamison was born five months ago. She is enjoying being back in the limelight.
“The rehearsal period has been pretty good,” she said. “My husband looked after the baby. At first, I didn’t want to do anything that took me away from my son, but it has been worth it because every time I have gone to a rehearsal, I have had a good laugh.”
The small cast made it easier to change rehearsal times, if her son needed her.
“Robbie said if you [the actors] don’t leave the play exhausted and sweating you have done something wrong,” she said. “It is very physical. There is a little bit of dancing at the beginning and the end and a few surprises from the 1980s. There is lots of music. Sue Bendell designed the wonderful set.
“It will be a good night and the audience will come away laughing their heads off. It is a really funny play and also very poignant. Robby’s character has a lot of monologues and gives the gritty truth about the nightlife and what the girls and guys are up to. It will really resonate with people who like to go out and hang out. And even if you don’t it will resonate as a parent that realisation of what probably goes on. It is not to say that everyone does the things that we talk about, but it certainly happens.”
Ironically, the nightclub scene from the 1980s might now seem a little tame, she said.
“There is stuff going on now that isn’t mentioned in the play, like gang violence,” she said. “That probably didn’t go on as much in the 1980s. As gritty as the play is, when you look at what goes on now, it is quite innocent.”
‘Bouncers’ will open on Valentine’s Day at 8pm at Daylesford Theatre. Patrons who come dressed in ‘80s disco wear will enjoy free cocktails and nibbles prior to the show. The show will continue on February 15 and 16 and 21 to 23. Tickets are $25 and can be purchased at bmds.bm.