I came out of Bath’s Theatre Royal having just seen John Godber’s iconic comedy Bouncers feeling somewhat bemused and slightly uncomfortable.

It’s like taking a bad trip down memory lane and I just couldn’t remember the late 1970s and early 1980s nightclubs in Birmingham that I used to frequent being as appalling as the one depicted in his play.

Godber’s hit comedy -  named one of the most popular plays of the last 50 years and selected as one of the National Theatre’s “Plays of the Century - visits the Theatre Royal Bath for the first time.

It’s described in the theatre’s press release as “eye-wateringly funny, celebratory and as relevant today as it ever was” but, without sounding snobbish, somehow the working-class humour was lost on me.

While Bouncers has become an international sensation garnering theatre awards around the world and featuring on GCSE A level and University drama courses, I found it somewhat predictable and cliched.

The plot features Godber’s observational style of writing and centres on four nightclub bouncers, Lucky Eric, Judd, Les and Ralph, as they tell the tale of one night in a sleazy Yorkshire disco called Mr Cinders in the 1980s.

All the gang are out on the town, the boys, the girls, the cheesy DJ, the late-night kebab man and the taxi home, all under the watchful eyes of the Bouncers, who deftly switch from one character to another while playing all the parts with aplomb.

Thankfully, times have changed and what might have passed as acceptable attitudes and behaviour in the 1980s are definitely unacceptable in today’s more woke world.

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald: Bouncers: Frazer Hammill as Lucky Eric, George Reid as Les, Nick Figgis as Judd and Tom Whittaker as Ralph. Photo: Ian HodgsonBouncers: Frazer Hammill as Lucky Eric, George Reid as Les, Nick Figgis as Judd and Tom Whittaker as Ralph. Photo: Ian Hodgson (Image: Ian Hodgson)

And that’s the problem, as while the four actors - Frazer Hammill as Lucky Eric, Nick Figgis as Judd, Tom Whittaker as Ralph and George Reid as Les, directed by Jane Thornton – are excellent, the script has aged over the past 47 years since it was written.

Bouncers is frequently outrageously funny - none more so than in a scene where the four are watching a late-night after-work porn film - and highly physical with a pumping soundtrack of 1980s classics, as this new production revisits the glorious highs when disco was king, and everyone lived for the weekend.

Throughout the play, the bouncers act as narrators, the protagonists and the antagonists of the story, and the physical gags and the sharp one-liners obviously amused some members of the audience.

Aside from Lucky Eric, a sensitive man whose wife has left him, the other three male characters are remorselessly misogynistic. Women are depicted as mostly promiscuous targets for sex and men as largely aggressive but incompetent sexual predators.

The extremes of sexual relationships both within and outside the squalid nightclub environment, are exacerbated by the ritualistic working class drinking culture and gang mentality, and are examined in detail through Lucky Eric's four solo speeches.

The main themes are ones of youthfulness, immaturity and fun-loving carelessness, while the egotistic Bouncers themselves frequently indulge in power play, particularly through the rivalry between Lucky Eric and Judd.

During the play Lucky Eric gives several speeches about young, slightly promiscuous girls in nightclubs being taken advantage of, and recounts one appalling incident in a pub where a drunk woman is sexually assaulted by a group of men.

While the underlying tone is one of sadness, Bouncers has a hard edge and a serious message. It is not for the faint-hearted and may be lost on anyone who hasn’t lived through similar life experiences.