Phlash!

Phlash! is a confusing mess of a show. With some degree of narrative arc to it, namely surrounding the creation of a new TV show in a place named Phlash! Towers, the show meanders through a number of bizarre sketches and not in the effectively surreal way that it seems to be aiming for.

There are some interesting ideas in the set, but it feels as if the show is hampered by an odd and overdone acting style in combination with the under-utilisation of the group’s skills.

The opening and closing sketches are centred on a group of potential American investors. As is the way with the slightly tired cliché of Americans, this involves a great deal of shouting and posturing, the appeal of which wears off rapidly.From this, the ‘narrative’ of the show moves to a new sketch without any change in acting style, where the group pretend to be various animals, including a vole and a werewolf. It is the randomly thrown-together nature of the show – in spite of attempts at creating an overall narrative arc – that means there is no chance for the show to exist either as a sketch show with a theme or as one in which scenes simply sit alongside one another. Not only are many of the sketches poorly constructed and acted, but there is one sketch which managed to shoehorn in unnecessary references to 9/11, the IRA and the Taliban. The comedy simply isn’t funny or secure enough to justify such obvious shock-factor themes, rendering these moments tasteless.

The group’s saving grace is a well-constructed and well-executed recurring joke on the ridiculous nature of idioms in the English language. However, this is the only point of the show that isn’t hampered by ridiculously overblown acting from all members of the group, instead adding to the overall tone.

There are some interesting ideas in the set, but it feels as if the show is hampered by an odd and overdone acting style in combination with the under-utilisation of the group’s skills. It would have been good, for instance, to have had a little more of Charlie Stay’s evident musical talent incorporated into the show rather than using his skill to provide what was essentially background and incidental music. It is flaws like these that stop Phlash! from being the surrealist success that it was aiming to be.

Reviews by Joanna Bowman

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Performances

Location

The Blurb

Back by popular demand, handsome trio The Phat Phunk Sandwich present Phlash!, an all new, all original, all bran sketch show! Featuring improv, music and gobstoppers (if you're lucky). Witness a cavalcade of equally mundane and bizarre tales, from beyond and before the grave. Behold! Phlash! 'Tremendous energy and rubber-faced zeal' **** (Independent), **** (BroadwayBaby.com). 'Zesty charm' (Evening Standard).

‘Phlash!’ is the first sketch show from comedy trio The Phat Phunk Sandwich, featuring the improvised music of young jazz keyboardist Charlie Stacey. Part narrative; part nonsense, ‘Phlash!’ is an energetic presentation of seemingly ordinary people faced with progressively ludicrous situations heaped with stereotypes of stereotypes. In a warped world where everything goes wrong and bizarre characters explode onto the scene without warning, Multimedia Conglomerate Phlash Corp is suffering. But how exactly?

The Phat Phunk Sandwich (Archie, Jack and Johnny) have been performing and writing together for nearly four years, aiming to produce a different brand of character comedy than is traditionally seen among students. Enthusiastic, daft and a little bit cynical, the trio are accompanied by improv jazz wizard Charlie Stacey, producing a unique and entertaining take on the sketch show formula.