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.