Grand arena, Pleasance Theatre
Edinburgh 2013: Blam! is set to be the Fringe's unexpected hit of the summer
Paul Vallely is visiting professor in Public Ethics at the University of Chester and a senior research fellow at the Brooks World Poverty Institute at the University of Manchester. He writes on ethical, political and cultural issues. He has a fortnightly column in the Independent on Sunday and also writes for the New York Times and the Church Times. His latest book is Pope Francis – Untying the Knots. He was co-author of the report of the Commission for Africa and has chaired several development charities.
Tuesday 06 August 2013
At the end of Blam! the audience catapulted themselves to their feet as one and applauded wildly in a riotous standing ovation. Every festival has one totally unexpected hit and at Edinburgh 2013 it is Blam!.
On paper it sounds the most unlikely of candidates. Blam! is a four-man company of comic mimes from Denmark whose show takes place against the most mundane of backdrops. The set is an office, complete with computer terminals, desks and swivel chairs, printer, water-cooler and those low screens designed to give the barest modicum of privacy to the modern open plan office. Their props are staplers, post-it notes, document folders, wastepaper baskets and plastic coffee cups.
Yet out of this quotidian ordinariness these four comic geniuses conjure a world of dark fantasy which explodes across the stage in wild fluttering fancies as the confined imaginations of the bounden male office workers are unleashed. But Kristján Ingimarsson, Lars Gregersen, Didier Oberele and Joen Højerslev are not just compleat clowns they are gymnasts and acrobats of extraordinary virtuosity. This is a masterclass in movement which bursts the banal bondage of office life combining Hollywood horror, computer shoot ’em-up, glittering glamrock and heavy metal extravagance as the Predator, Wolverine, the Incredible Hulk and Iron Man stalk the stage which shifts through 90 degrees, turning as wildly as the expectations of the audience.
After such an eye-popping orgy of athletic physical impossibility, to the boom of AC/DC and Black Sabbath, a standing ovation was the very least an audience could do.
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