Peacock Theatre, London, UK; November 10, 2013
First and foremost, “Blam!” is great fun and energy sweeps off the stage in waves. It all starts in the mundane setting of an everyday office with three employees and a boss. It’s a setting that most of the audience can relate to of course and initially bears some relation to the places we all know and hate: the dull office surroundings, the hierarchies, the boredom, the japes that go on while the management aren’t looking; the boss alternating between snooping, wagging a finger and giving an insincere thumbs up in a vain attempt to encourage his team.
And then it all begins to go pear-shaped: the boss takes some pills and his behaviour becomes increasingly erratic; the meekest of the workers suddenly realises he has the power to generate electricity and everyday devices take on a life of their own. A water cooler is given two flexi-lamps for legs and goes walkabout; and the closed circuit television cameras are ripped out to become guns.
The pace of the show increases with office divides moving, desks upended and the workers leaping around the set with increasingly demented behaviour. At one point, the whole stage rotates so that a deadly serious card game is viewed from above. And the office becomes more and more like a war zone, until the workers transform into super heroes with pencils substituting for Wolverine’s talons and the boss transformed into Rambo biffing everyone in range. Pity the poor stage crew who has to put the set, which by the end is reduced to a shambolic mess, back together again for the next performance.
It’s too boring to ask: “Is it dance?” Maybe extremely physical theatre sums it up best. A dancer’s timing is certainly needed to avoid injuring your colleagues or yourself. There’s no question that Danish creator and performer, Kristján Ingimarsson, the performers and indeed the whole team associated with physical theatre company Neader earn their money thrice over. And by slowly mounting the pace and the mayhem index, they manage to sustain our interest through to the end. Comparisons are odious, but I probably got more even more fun from Cirque Eloize’s recent “iD”, if only because of the much wider range of skills on show and the variety of settings. But I am being churlish – you would need to have a serious case of humour deficiency syndrome not to enjoy “Blam!”