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Bouncers


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A: John Godber W: 1977–84 Pf: Amateur: 1977, Edinburgh; professional: 1984, Hull Pb: 1987 G: Com. in 2 acts; prose and some ‘rap’ verse S: Disco in a provincial English town, 1980s C: 4mFour bouncers of ‘Mr Cinders’ disco welcome the audience, then become female customers at the hairdresser's gossiping about clothes, then young men at the barber's talking about women. The lads go on a pub crawl, the girls sip their drinks in another pub. Making sexist and homophobic comments, the bouncers prepare for the night, and re-enact the time they had a fight with a drunken rugby team. Lucky Eric, ‘the wise old owl of the bouncers’, is concerned about the young girls who so easily give themselves to men at the disco: ‘What else is there?’ Girls come and dance, lads go to the toilets to urinate and vomit, the bouncers turn away people they do not like. The bored bouncers act out a pornographic film. The lads pick up girls with varying success. Eric is unhappy about the ‘working class with no option left, exposing its weakness’. The lads get a taxi home, the bouncers clear up, and settle to watch a Michael Jackson video.

A: John Godber W: 1977–84 Pf: Amateur: 1977, Edinburgh; professional: 1984, Hull Pb: 1987 G: Com. in 2 acts; prose and some ‘rap’ verse S: Disco in a provincial English town, 1980s C: 4m

Bouncers stands chronologically between Berkoff's East and Cartwright's Road as a theatrical account of English working-class culture, focusing here on disco entertainment. Listening to working-class youths in the cinema shouting: ‘Fast forward!’, as they urged the film on to the next piece of action, Godber became aware that most theatre productions are tedious and intended for middle-class audiences. Bouncers, which depends ‘as much on energy as it does on technique’, is an impressively vigorous yet thoughtful piece of populist theatre. Godber has rewritten Bouncers many times (the Penguin version excludes the disco owner Marco, but names him in the cast list).

Subjects: Literary Studies (Plays and Playwrights).


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