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With all the talk of violence on TV and in the movies these days and body counts rising on screen, you might be tempted to go for a cultural night out at the theatre to avoid the horror. If this your plan then BLAM! ISN’T the show for you. If, on the other hand, you DO want an eyeball exploding night of pure adrenaline-fuelled theatrical mayhem, then stop whatever you are doing and buy a ticket for the Grand’s theatrical highlight of the season. (Actually don’t stop immediately, carry on reading then do it.)

You would probably need to have been on the Moon to have missed the posters, videos and promotion for the show in the last few months. So with all the hype building is BLAM! worthy of the anticipation? Well altFaithful, I’m here to tell you it is, and in spades.

BLAM! is a piece of physical theatre with the emphasis on the physical. The Danish company has eschewed a script and converse in the universal language of grunts and the visuals. It’s a seventy minute roller coaster of performers pushing themselves to the limit.

A humdrum day in the office for the four actors turns into a maelstrom of action-film referencing insanity. Mundane office equipment will never be seen in the same light again; staplers, hat-stands, and A4 folders become weapons of mass-produced destruction in the hands of the staggeringly talented cast. From the simple throwing of a ball of paper, the action builds in an anarchic escalation of invention from the ‘whatever is at hand’ stationary arsenal that litters the drab office set. The drabness of the uniformed cubicle office throws the mayhem that happens into stark relief. The set then goes through a number of incredible changes. Jungles and war zones are created out of the bland and everyday. Without giving to many spoilers away it’s hard to describe the action, but the finale has a jaw-dropping event of a kind that I’ve never seen in my twenty odd years of theatre going. It’s worth the ticket price simply to see that alone.

The four actors from the rotating cast of eight are incredible.  With my paunch and stick-like arms it was like being in the presence of demigods.  Seriously, these guys are like carved statues, Bruce Lee-ripped, which of course is shown to the best in the Enter The Dragon homage. The level of training involved for these chaps must be beyond gruelling and the results are apparent in their total body control as they wage war on each other.

Without giving too much away, the highlights for me ranged from the simple turning of the water cooler into the 2001 black monolith, the overhead camera style staging of a spaghetti western card game, the rather touching love story subplot of a man and his water bottle and the live action bullet time action scenes. It’s breathtaking stuff.

The Grand Theatre have taken a bold and brave chance by programming such an oddball and ‘non-traditional’ show, especially as the juggernaut of ABBA songs that is Mamma Mia plays up the road against it, but it has paid off. With LeftCoast’s partnership, the aims of reaching a new audience which would not usually visit the theatre with shows like BLAM! are well on the way to fruition. Congratulations all round I think.

So there you have it, I’m waxing lyrical and unpacking my box of overwrought adjectives for this review because the show is that good. I’ve been across the length and breadth of Britain and Europe and seen a heck of a lot of physical theatre in my time. BLAM! is without doubt one of the best pieces of theatre I’ve ever seen. In my lost days as an actor there was a saying in the company I worked with, ‘If the audience aren’t jealous of what you’re doing on stage, do better’. BLAM! has left me green with envy.

 

Tickets for Blam! can be bought from the Grand Theatre box office by phoning (01253) 290190 or by visiting the website.

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