Bouncers – In Conversation with David Carr, a Director’s View

Bouncers plays August 9 – 13 in the Upper Hall at Stanley Halls. Seasoned actor and first-time director David Carr talks about his debut production

Bouncers-3Bouncers is an infamous play, but for those that have not come across it, what’s the play about?

Bouncers tells the tale of a night out in a northern nightclub as seen through the eyes of the four bouncers. The play describes the seemingly timeless shenanigans of punters who save their money all week and blow it on a ‘big night out’ in celebration of a birthday or just because it’s Friday night! Although the play is set ‘oop north’, the antics described could easily play out in any city or town across the UK.

Bouncers  has been a popular play for almost 30 years – how does this updated version differ from the 1987 original?

The core story remains the same in the 1990s re-mix and we’ve decided to set the play as a period piece. The main differences between the original and the re-mix were mainly cultural references and a slightly darker tone in certain sections. What remains is a mixture of light and shade with a juxtaposition of high camp, easy comedy alongside deep and moving observations and a depiction of the futility of the human condition. But hey, it’s only a Friday night out!

Bouncers-4It’s a real challenge for the actors to portray a myriad of characters and segue from burly bouncer to drunken girl,  with no or minimal props or set changes. However, this allows the audience to draw on their own experiences of nightclubs to colour their view.

The noticeable absence however is the lack of social media, this play has no Facebook updates and remains selfie free zone, a concept which is quite alien to the younger audience let alone basket meals!

Tell us about the 4 characters.

Lucky Eric – is older and wiser than the other bouncers, the leader of the pack. The enigmatic Eric shares his concerns and troubles during his four speeches which demonstrate he is more thoughtful and deeper than his counterparts. Eric is on the edge, a powerlifter who has recently separated from his wife. She haunts him by frequenting and flaunting herself at ‘Mr. Cinders’ and for Eric this is the ultimate humiliation.

Judd – is formerly a close friend of Eric’s who trained him as a powerlifter. Judd was also a wrestler and a petty thief. All in all Judd is a nasty piece of work who constantly berates Eric throughout the night, frustrated that Eric won’t join him on his senseless course of violence, and he’s in denial that he’s trapped in this lifestyle.

Bouncers-5Ralph – is less aggressive than the other bouncers, maintaining a more reserved presence which leads Eric to refer to him as ‘Mr Inner Calm’. He trains in judo and probably still lives with his mum.

Les – is the youngest of the group and keen to make a name for himself, unfortunately through violence. He’s eager to get into fights and aspires to being in charge. Les is the most likely contender for a future distinction in GBH or worse!

All four actors also portray a variety of other characters, including four lads and lasses on a big night out!

What staging challenges are you finding?

With no traditional set to speak of the main challenge is to maintain momentum throughout each act and change character in all the right places. I’m hoping that a good lighting design will be our friend, and a good selection of music will help set the scene and the mood.

Bouncers-2What do you hope the audience will enjoy about the show?

It’s fun! But there is a serious side to this play which I think helps to maintain its longevity. I think every audience member will be able to relate to some of the experiences depicted in the play, whether or not they’ll admit to theme.

Who’s in the cast?

SLT seasoned performer Michael Marsden plays Judd, and Rob Tavernier  takes on his second SLT acting role as Lucky Eric. We’re also welcoming newcomers  Jake Mills (Ralph) and Ralph Paulett (Les).


Directed by David Carr, Bouncers plays in the Upper Hall Tuesday 9 – Saturday 13 August at 8pm.