BLAM!

I’ve little doubt that I’d have a lot of fun with a pony who knows one-trick but it’s safe to say that it would eventually get tiresome. I might shake things up a bit by having it do its trick in a top hat but then I would remove the top hat and realise that, all along, it was just a pony that was doing the same trick but this time in a top hat. Such is how I feel about Blam! It has tapped into a simplistic but effective formula: let’s find something that the audience like and do it time and time and time again - and when we think we might need to shake it up, let’s put a top hat on to convince the audience that they’re watching something different.

It’s the age-old story: the three young male employees, all non-verbal, are bored at work and are finding ways to pass the time by indulging in a series of boyish fantasies about superheroes, spies and a range of other assorted characters. The boss wants in, because he seems to prize popularity over a smooth-running business. I can only assume they’re saving his redundancy for the sequel.

The show moves from quiet distractions in the office through to minor scenes of gunplay and finally to a manic and explosive ending. What Blam! does well, it does very well. As the performers progress through these stories, they work to a soundtrack to which they have choreographed slick and dynamic actions. They are innovative in their use of props - all general office amenities representing various weapons, equipment and love interests - and in their lighting and sound design. They throw themselves over cubicle walls and onto trolleys, responding to every gunshot, every punch and every effect with a sharp attentiveness. Then when attention might start to dip, they put the top hat on the pony: the elevated stage begins to tilt and their skits become more dynamic still.

In periods between the early skits, the music falls away and a quiet, Pythonesque slapstick takes over. Yet as the play progresses, they become less and less willing to indulge in these intermissions. It becomes clear that moments of détente would allow us to clear our heads of the loud physicality and distractions therein, and reveal to us that this isn’t actually a great piece of theatre. One audience member left the auditorium championing its ‘boyish charm’ but there is a line between boyish charm and four men having you pay to watch them messing around on a stage. This certainly inclines towards the latter. If that is enough to entertain you: great, go for it. Still, at least recognise that this is the reason so many Transformers films are being made.

As the show ends, the four guys spend some time high-fiving each other, hugging and laughing. This, for me, was the show in a self-congratulatory nutshell. If you take away the blam, you’ll realise there’s not much to Blam!

Since you’re here…

… we have a small favour to ask. We don't want your money to support a hack's bar bill at Abattoir, but if you have a pound or two spare, we really encourage you to support a good cause. If this review has either helped you discover a gem or avoid a turkey, consider doing some good that will really make a difference.

You can donate to the charity of your choice, but if you're looking for inspiration, there are three charities we really like.

Mama Biashara
Kate Copstick’s charity, Mama Biashara, works with the poorest and most marginalised people in Kenya. They give grants to set up small, sustainable businesses that bring financial independence and security. That five quid you spend on a large glass of House White? They can save someone’s life with that. And the money for a pair of Air Jordans? Will take four women and their fifteen children away from a man who is raping them and into a new life with a moneymaking business for Mum and happiness for the kids.
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Theatre MAD
The Make A Difference Trust fights HIV & AIDS one stage at a time. Their UK and International grant-making strategy is based on five criteria that raise awareness, educate, and provide care and support for the most vulnerable in society. A host of fundraising events, including Bucket Collections, Late Night Cabarets, West End Eurovision, West End Bares and A West End Christmas continue to raise funds for projects both in the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa.
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Acting For Others
Acting for Others provides financial and emotional support to all theatre workers in times of need through the 14 member charities. During the COVID-19 crisis Acting for Others have raised over £600,000 to support theatre workers affected by the pandemic.
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Performances

The Blurb

BLAM! Die-Hard meets The Office. Ordinary life is ripped apart in this hilarious, explosive show displaying awe inspiring physical feats and neck-breaking stunts. 'A party bomb of a show that detonates into an orgy of insanity'. ***** (Politiken)

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