Edinburgh Fringe 2013
Die-Hard meets The Office. To escape their painfully dull 9-to-5 jobs, four ingenious office workers invent BLAM! – an imaginary game where ordinary life is put through the shredder. In this hilarious and explosive show, the mundane workplace is transformed into a world populated by aliens, superheroes and classic blockbuster movie villains. With neck-breaking stunts, breathtaking physical feats, exhilarating parkour and heaps of attitude, BLAM! takes you on an extraordinary riotous adventure. ‘BLAM! is bazooka-balm for the soul’ (Information), ‘A party bomb of a show that detonates into an orgy of insanity’ ***** (Politiken).
Only a few days into the Fringe and Blam! is already becoming a mega-hit. The Pleasance Grand was packed full of expectant audience members hoping to witness some explosive physical theatre. They weren’t disappointed.
Blam! by Kristján Ingimarsson//Neander is an depiction of four ordinary office workers secret fantasy games. Are these events happening in the mind of one man or all four? Or do they really trash their office acting out these childish fantasies? The whole office including the furniture and equipment conspires to make their dreams a reality.
This fantasy world is played out on a set of an open-plan office complete with working computers, files and a water cooler. The set becomes a scaffold for their physical feats and goes on a dramatic, transformative journey of its own.
The office is even replete with overhead strip lighting suspended from the rig – used in one incredible sequence as a trapeze.
Kristján Ingimarsson, Lars Gregersen, Didier Oberle and Joen Højerslev are a tight company of gifted physical performers. Their acrobatics sizzle on the stage and strong characters are communicated non-verbally across the large space. The skill and exertion of the performers is evident through their sweat-soaked shirts and the cheers of the audience.
The fantasies of the men are peppered with references to action and superhero films, complemented by atmospheric lighting and a pounding soundtrack of beats and sound effects. Each punch, kick, dive and flip is absolutely perfectly timed to these filmic sound effects – making the performers appear superhuman.
The dance sequence right at the end was delightful and lifted the atmosphere. Blam! could use these skills to infuse some of the fantasies with a more abstract form of telling. The punches, kicks and toy gun shooting felt a little repetitive.
Blam! is hyper-masculine. It’s not clear why no women work in this office, potentially just an oversight on the part of the hapless manager. The only female representation on stage is the water cooler, puppeteered by the men, waltzed with, fought over romantically. The water cooler woman eventually dies as part of another of the men’s fantasies – playing at surgeons.
Blam! is a clear example of contemporary forms of theatre emerging into the mainstream theatre. They are easily compared to DV8, without the examination of difficult issues.
A high-octane and impressive production.