Flynch, Looking

To say that Flynch, Looking is about a seaside holiday will tell you nothing. Nothing of the technical brilliance of this play's choreography. Nothing of the living mind that inhabits the multiple limbs of the company's members. Nothing of their physical innovation. And yet that is the plot: James Flynch, recently broken up from the love of his life, and incapable of attachment to the world around him, has gone on holiday to the seaside.This is the debut production from the Paris-based company Clout, a cluster of performers from an impressive variety of disciplines including opera, physical theatre and figure skating. But for all its pedigrees and all its invention, it is deceptively accessible, presenting vivid characters in familiar settings - the choreography mobilises behind these settings to turn them on their head and to make the psychological experience of the environments manifest in their physical make-up. So far, so typical you may be thinking. But the sheer precision of movement and originality of the devices are stunning, and that crucial familiarity on which the empathy with Flynch relies is left unbroken no matter how much the scene is twisted and pulled.The real thorn in the show's side, however, is the dialogue. For a play in the ‘Dance and Physical Theatre’ section of the programme, many segments are quite dialogue heavy. This in itself seems important to ground the performance in the physical reality of the holiday resort - yet I wonder if the script was devised from improvisation, something that would explain its flatness whenever it needs to go beyond its merely functional components. The lapses in the writing are perhaps even more surprising given that, conceptually, the play is rich in all sorts of symbolism. The sea that surrounds the action at the resort, for example, seems to beckon Flynch as he processes his lost love, as sirens in swimsuits circle him in his dreams. The sea therefore takes on a distinctly feminine characteristic as it does in many a modernist novel, something that is fed into the narrative in all sorts of places, in the crashing of the waves and the patter of the unexpected shower. I feel this would have been an even stronger production had this conceptual whole permeated the language as distinctly as it did the movement and the sound.Despite its flaws, I dare anyone not to be impressed by Flynch, Looking. It is a dazzling debut from an exciting new company and, in the last minute, it throws up a wonderfully ambiguous ending, one that may redefine the whole play and which is guaranteed to have you talking over dinner. You won’t be able to turn your eyes away.

Reviews by Tom Moyser

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The Blurb

Armed with her last letter to him, Flynch rampages through the singing corridors of a warped hotel looking for the woman he loves. Lecoq trained company dazzle in this brave, poetic and humorous piece where rooms become oceans.