October 29th, 2013

Blam (2)An office is the unlikely setting of Blam!, an ingenious piece of physical theatre by Danish theatre company Neander, which defies logic and expectation in its creation of something quite unique. The show – which is indeed a work of pure genius – made considerable waves at this years Edinburgh Fringe, and is now running at The Peacock Theatre in Holborn until mid November.

Free of the constraints of dialogue or conventional narrative, Blam! sees four impossibly agile office-workers use the power of imagination and an adoration of Hollywood cliches to escape their humdrum surroundings. These were the kids who did not spend their school lunch times patting a tennis ball against a brick wall, choosing instead to hang upside down from trees pretending to be paratroopers shot out of the air in Vietnam or aliens hanging motionless in stasis pods.

The curtain rises to reveal an office – the clicking keyboards and occasional bubbling of the water-cooler lulling us into the monotony – as three bored number monkeys go through the motions. On a split level the boss keeps a keen eye, occasionally strolling about the office floor as they pretend to knuckle down to some serious spreadsheeting. They eventually start messing around (‘blamming’), using office equipment as props in their small scenes, all of which are accompanied by sound and lighting effects that bring their imaginations to life.The action begins with the most inane of office games as a ball of paper is thrown and batted into a bin, but over the course of 75 minutes, it slowly builds into a cacophony of blockbuster based mayhem Blam (3)referencing everything from Disney ‘toons to The Avengers.

Whilst the players are not pandering to any great profundity, there is substance to be found beneath the blamming. The dynamics of the group (essentially big children) reveal recognisable playground struggles: the square kid who feels left out tries to get involved with the games but never quite ‘gets it’, always getting too excited and accidentally hurting someone. What is being portrayed on stage are – quite unashamedly – the antics of young boys, and if the production has a weakness it is that it may be slightly neglecting of a female perspective. However, they make up for this by being broad with there referencing, brilliantly anthropomorphising the water cooler into a love interest for one of the characters, complete with ballroom dance and tragic death.

For those who work in a job in which they are denied a sufficient outlet for their creativity, this is a brilliant piece of escapist comedy theatre. Expertly choreographed, hilarious and exciting, everyone should drop what they are doing and see Blam! And then see it again.

Words > Andrew Wilson

Tags: , ,