Welcome to the office – an ordinary, grey environment with only the clicks and hums of equipment in the background and the blanket expression of workers wondering how it came to this. Or, welcome to the office – a workers playground, a place where imagination reigns supreme and every movie fantasy can exist!
Fresh from the Edinburgh Fringe, the Neander Company comes to Sadler’s Wells Peacock Theatre bringing with it an inventive, energetic show that relies on the audience identifying with a need for escapism and play.
The show revolves around four men who work in an office and their inventions, turning ordinary office equipment and stationary into weapons, hideaways and even objects of affection. The skill of the performers is evident, mixing physical theatre with circus tricks turning their aesthetically boring set into an adventure playground; a free running dream where an office wheelie chair becomes an ideal getaway vehicle.
The show juxtaposes moments of humdrum office life with abstract movie sequences, where the workers become stars of their own movie, killing the bad guys and falling in love (with the water cooler in this case). The show has a cartoon quality, appealing to those audience members who are fans of Marvel Comics and action heroes.
The audience at the Peacock Theatre delighted in the many references to movie characters and were thrilled by a sequence where each worker turns into their favourite action hero resulting in a showdown between Wolverine and Rambo. Although these fight sections were entertaining they became slightly repetitive and were in danger of losing the initial wit and playfulness of earlier scenes, perhaps due to the lack of a strong narrative.
Blam! essentially relies on the audience’s knowledge of the movies and a desire to become an action hero for the day. It may lose some members of the audience during the fight sequences but the performer’s sense of fun is infectious and reminds us that life really is just one big playground.
**** (4 stars)
Runs until 16th November