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'Bouncers' Opens Despite Protests

September 21, 1987|DAN SULLIVAN | Times Theater Critic

Despite protests from Los Angeles, "Bouncers" has opened in New York, to mixed-to-positive reviews.

Susan Loewenberg, who brought John Godber's play across from London to the Tiffany Theatre, claims that the show's New York producer, Lou Adler, failed to get the necessary clearances from her before opening his production at off-Broadway's Minetta Lane Theatre. She is suing to shut down the show.

The reviews in the Friday papers weren't bad. Frank Rich of The New York Times liked the hairiness of Godber's play, in contrast to the smooth products of Tom Stoppard and Simon Gray.

Rich also liked the device of having all the customers and staff of a raunchy British disco played by four actors. "With no pauses for costume changes, Mr. Godber can give the play the hurly-burly rhythms of a nonstop disco's dance floor."

And yet . . . "Mr. Godber's hell rarely catches fire." Rich attributed this to "the lack of specificity in the characterizations. The cast may move well as an ensemble, but the evening's many characters blur together." Marilyn Stasio of the New York Post thought that director Ron Link had got an "amazing" performance from his cast. For her the evening found "both the desperation and the tough humor in the weekly routine of the Friday night jungle crawl."

Daily News critic Howard Kissel agreed that the production was effective. "But we never really learn much about bouncers (did we care?) and the material rarely goes beyond the level of high school skits."

Russell Vandenbroucke, who used to be the Mark Taper Forum's literary manager, takes over this fall as the new artistic director at Chicago's Northlight Theatre.

He's starting with a "no-theme season." It will include "The Marriage of Figaro," Craig Lucas' "Three Postcards," Karel Capek's 1937 "The White Plague," Vandenbroucke's adaptation of "Feiffer's America" and "Two," a new play about postwar Germany by an Australian writer, Ron Elisha.

"I have a taste for hard plays that make demands on everybody," Vandenbroucke told the Chicago Tribune's Richard Christiansen. "I believe the more you give, the more you get."

QUOTE OF THE WEEK. From Jean-Claude Carriere and Peter Brook's adaptation of "The Mahabharata:"

VOICE. And what is the greatest marvel?

YUDHISHTHIRA. Each day, death strikes and we live as though we were immortal. This is what is the greatest marvel.

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