THE action never flags in John Godber’s Bouncers, running at Malvern Theatres until Saturday, but while it’s never less than engaging and laugh-out loud funny, the updated script has an odd awkwardness that comes from shoehorning in contemporary references.

The stereotypes portrayed - the drunken, giggly girls and the lairy lager-fuelled lads out on the pull - belong to an era that pre-dates a world of social media and texting, a time when jukeboxes were part of the furniture in any pub, and Cheryl and Rihanna hadn’t even been born.

There’s little doubt that the observations at the core of Bouncers are as true today as they were in the 80s - the desperate drunken weekend mating game is as much a ritual today as it was then, but there’s something about the setting that refuses to allow the updated script to work as efficiently as in earlier stagingsBut a brilliant cast, with Ian Reddington especially good as Lucky Eric, pulls off the physical demands of the piece with considerable panache - the memory of Ace Bhatti as Sexy Susi and Don Gilet as the reluctant suitor of clunky Elaine lingers. Playing three characters apiece, with no more than a handbag to aid the swift switches, Reddington, Bhatti, Gilet and William Ilkley, bring energy, conviction and a regular supply of laughs - the spectacle of Reddington and Bhatti acting out a porn movie then re-winding drew spontaneous applause - with Ian Reddington adding a touching degree of pathos and resignation to Lucky Eric’s four speeches.

Bouncers continues at Malvern Theatres until Saturday. To book, call the box office on 01684 892277.


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Hereford Times: Malvern Theatres