Bouncers | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader
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You could call it "Mister Cinders South," I suppose. Mister Cinders disco is the setting for Bouncers, John Godber's tale of Saturday-night fever in the industrial wastelands of Thatcher's England, as told by the four club doormen. In the course of their narration, the doormen play some 35 characters, including chainsaw-wielding barbers, anarchic college boys, the cast of a pornographic video run on a defective projector, and several varieties of young men and women squandering their salaries and/or welfare checks on a desperate grab at some fun. The Next Theatre Lab production originally opened last July at the company's Evanston headquarters; now the show, newly choreographed by Dexter Bullard (who directed the original production) and sporting only one of its original cast members, has moved to Ruggles Cabaret in the Royal George, where the improved acoustics render every vulgar, honest word clear and the intimate 100-seat space enables the actors to get even closer into the audience's faces. Frank Dominelli's Ralph still anchors the irreverent antics with an easy gravity, contrasting with the sweat-breaking exuberance of Marc A. Nelson's Judd. Paul Sandberg and Tracy Letts have been cleverly cast against type, the former's Tom Sawyer good looks masking Les's scrappy pugnacity and the latter's gaunt and menacing countenance belying Lucky Eric's stubborn compassion. Bouncers is a show that could run forever, but it's not going to, so go see what can be done with a bare-bones script and gobs of theatrical imagination. Royal George Theatre Center's Ruggles Cabaret, through May 26. Wednesdays-Fridays, 8:15 PM; Saturdays, 7 and 9:30 PM. $12.50-$16.50.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/David Sutton.

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