Venue 2, Tuesday 11th September
This year’s Freshers couldn’t have gotten a better introduction to St Andrews theatre. Bouncers Remix, which went up under the same production crew and mostly the same cast last semester, performed an encore for free in Venue 2 on the Tuesday of Freshers’ week. Though there were a few drawbacks that made the show slightly less than flawless, it was free, funny, engaging, and just artsy enough to catch everyone’s attention.
Bouncers has three intertwining plots, that of 4 male friends going out on the town, of 4 female friends going out on the town, and of 4 bouncers at one of the clubs in town where the partiers end up. Though there are 13 characters—including the lecherous DJ—there were only 4 actors and the only hints, other than the occasional purse, as to when the scene and the characters were changing were the actors’ demeanors and voices. It could have been outrageously confusing, but the actors, for the most part, smoothly and clearly transitioned.
I showed up to Venue 2 for the show and could barely squeeze onto the second floor of the Union because there were so many people there to see the play. The Venue had been converted into a pub-like set with tables of 4 or 6 set up around the room and the actual Union bar off in the corner. There were problems early on when health issues with one of the four actors delayed the show for over half an hour. But despite warnings that a replacement might need to be brought in for the ailing actor, the show went on without further incident and I couldn’t even tell which actor was feeling poorly.
Ben Anderson absolutely stole the women’s scenes. You could really feel that he was enjoying playing the part, which is a positive message to any Freshers keen to join Mermaids, and his portrayal of a drunk, promiscuous girl was just too funny. He had the walk, the voice, and just really nailed the role. I don’t think there was a single one of his lines that didn’t make the audience laugh. Jamie Jones was suitably lecherous for his part as one of the partiers and was probably the best performer in the group as far as the male partiers were concerned.
Cameron Kirby, in my opinion, had the best all-around performance, which is really impressive since he was originally not even an actor in the show but the director. Though none of his characters stole their scenes, he did the best at consistently performing every character and seamlessly transitioning between his collective of roles. His body language marking character changing was very strong and he was the best to look to for clues when I was lost and wondering if the scene had changed.
The character of Lucky Eric, the philosophizing divorcé bouncer brought needed weight and introspection to the otherwise light-hearted show. Oli Clayton nailed the role, his accent and demeanor for the role was spot on and in many ways his performance was the most brilliant part of the show. Despite this I couldn’t help but feel that his transition from a serious role—the only real deep character in the show—to a comedic one was never quite complete. So while Lucky Eric stole the show, his other characters failed to shine.
I also must draw attention to an aspect of shows that is so often under-appreciated: the tech. The lighting and music was a fulltime job because of all the scene transitions between flashing club lights and blaring music and the outside world of the bouncers and though it was overwhelming at time, like in a real club, it was wonderfully done, especially considering the constraints of the venue.
Image: Adelaide Waldrop