Bouncers

Date 29th July 2021
Society Middlesbrough Little Theatre Limited
Venue Middlesbrough Theatre
Type of Production Play
Director Mike Crooks
Choreographer Sue Brackenbury

Report

Author: Jean SCarlett-Carr

MLT society chose a play that is well loved as their first event back after the pandemic forced closures, and they did the right one as they filled the special measures house.

This was a play with only 4 cast members but playing so many more characters, the "Bouncers", the "Ladies", the "Lads", the DJ, the Barber, the Hairdresser, and all done in fixed set and costume with accompanying props with such deftness and skill.

As the four Bouncers, in their classic black DJs and bow ties,  Scott Ayling played Lucky Eric with great character depth and feeling, as the diminutive but tough gent, this character had a hidden pain, played with great feeling and life's knowledge in his spotted speeches showing such underlying background and stage craft; a beautiful performance.   Judd, the tough aggressive trouble-causer was played by Matthew Blanks and again a really well played part, believable soul, who buckles when called to bluff, and brings out the audience's sympathy, and as someone who came into the part later - no-one could have known - well done.  Lee Blake as Les was just so cleverly played, often the younger naive one, could be tough when on job but a tenderness too to this character, got some of the best laughs too with his fabulous facial expressions.  Kelvin Witherspoon-Sudron excelled as Ralph with the task of peace-maker to smooth the brewing battles and yet less experienced bouncer showed an innocence too, and as the sleezy DJ,  a great character.

Their switches into the frolicking females, and lude leering lads, for the different scenes, back and forth were so slick and smart, becoming instant new characters, was a joy to watch. Scenes progressed through their day, of preparation preening, to enjoying evening, to finishing failures and the clarity of stages was superb. The dancing scene duos with heights and character performances was such a joy, had the audience in laughter throughout.   Enabled by well timed clever lighting and clipped music, and accentuated by boxes and props, that took us to the imagined scenes, sometimes even with just several lines, before flick back again.  The music, the props and their actions brought out such memories of the set time that the audience could all reminisce, and gave great responses throughout, as they were so well done.  The scenes flowed with pace, the cast, onstage entirely, gave all their many lines without hesitation, and were able to add and lose props to wings so smoothly.  A script of crude, rude and foul language not for all tastes but delivered delightfully - a great performance all round.