In Bouncers, the Door Men Are Center Stage (3 stars)
Bouncers, Stickball Productions at the Cantab Lounge, 738 Massachusetts Avenue in Central Square, through April 27. Show times are Friday and Saturday nights at 8:00 p.m.; doors open at 7:30. Tickets are $20, and no one under 21 admitted. For more information, check out www.stickballproductions.com
Last year, the newly formed Stickball Productions (Bill Doncaster, Producer/Writer, and Maria Silvaggi, Producer/Director) presented Doncaster’s adaptation of The Friends Of Eddie Coyle. It was cleverly and smoothly performed at Oberon, the ART’s nightclub/theatre/bar just outside of Harvard Square. The show was an artistic and financial success, and was brought back as one of the offerings of last year’s Emerging Artists Festival.
With Bouncers by British playwright John Godber, Doncaster directs a play that has been a runaway hit throughout Great Britain, where it opened in 1977, and in Chicago, where director Doncaster saw it in 1991.
And it’s easy to see the appeal. Bouncers, at the Cabtab Lounge weekends through April 27, is performed by a quarter of charismatic and versatile actors who play four bouncers, as well as the patrons, male and female, who vie to get into the door of the club they guard. It’s a “non-musical revue” made up of scenes, sketches, rap routines and monologues related to the nightlife portrayed. And though there’s no singing, the four guys dance the Macarena in the opening of Act Two.
It was a fun opening, but it was also an example of the problem that got in the way of my enjoying the show as much as most of the full house audience. The material was very dated and very British. It’s too bad Stickball didn’t update the material and the references to make it more relatable in Boston in 2013. And given the world of these four bouncers, ranging from early 20s to middle-aged, the material leans toward a male dominated and somewhat sexist “Guys” sense of humor, going so far as to include visual and aural peeing and fart jokes. But the audience of mostly young men and women were on their feet at curtain call, clearly relating to the show’s characters and tales.
The four actors, Joe Siriani, Seyi Ayorinde, Patrick Curran, and James Bocock, create a dozen or more characters, with great energy, versatility and a good command of the accents and vocal traits of all those characters. And while I would have liked a little more subtlety at times, the audience’s favorite moments included the guys’ physical comedy as they played a quartet of young women primping for their big night out. And in recreating two separate and famous dance numbers, they brought down the house.
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars.