Waterford’s Bowler Hat Theatre Company brought another touch of the crude, rude and very funny theatre, to the Theatre Royal, with a Pat Daly adapted and Waterford-ised version of John Godber’s Bouncers. The play looks at the wild carry-on in discos and night clubs through the eyes of sanguine bouncers, eager young men and electric young women on a twenty-first birthday bash.
By locating it in a familiar Waterford setting, with topical references to recent student mindless behaviour and by having a running joke featuring calls to Billy McCarthy on Deise AM, the audience get a more immediate experience and an all too-accurate look at the high-jinks and low cut morals of the proverbial good night out. A lot of jokes, gags and routines, are too crude to quote in this review and yes folks, the best jokes are often unrepeatable.
You either love the idiotic antics of young people getting mindlessly drunk, eager to hammer it into a few lacks (a very Waterford word for girls), or you blanch at vomit routines, inane but hilarious jokes about snot – a great mystery of the universe – and this show didn’t have a fart joke.
It did have a crazy, laugh a line, sequence in a video shop where Killian Power, as a dwarf video staffer, had me weak with laughter. It had a routine, you can only imagine, about an elephant, a penguin and a traffic cone. Paul Kavanagh was the most developed character and his calls to WLRfm were a glorious treat – Sex, sex, sex, that’s all they talk about. Billy Kavanagh also brought wonderful pathos with contemplative soliloquies about the deeper meaning and significance of the life of a bouncer. I loved his droll style.
Conor Hayden was a scream as the bouncer with glasses, who wanted to kick people’s faces in. Darren Malone caught the giddy mood of partying girls so well but too often the others settled for limp-wristed pastiche. His routine about going back to college to study psychology to help him be a better bouncer, was a howl.
Liam Meagher directed and sometimes allowed a slow pace to emerge. But the final choreographed fun about a German sub-titled porno film was sleezy slapstick but sheer fun.
The lighting was vague too often and not enough variation and the soundtrack was sparse and often too low for night club accuracy. The lack of set was a black tab too many but it was fun and entertaining with great performances, just like the crazy nights out it portrayed.