So you want to know about “Flashbang”? It’s a show about friendship, and overcoming grief but also about the social expectations and stereotypes that today’s men are burdened with. But to be fair, It’s also just a play about a town where nothing really happens, and about 5 lads that live their ordinary British lives.
It’s produced with a heck of a flawless script, a brilliant showcase of acting, and an unexpected, sneaky emotional tone that will catch you in the most unsuspecting moment. Beware, it’s not your usual Friday night pub theatre play. It’s so much more.
“Flashbang” is a play about… Well. Nothing much. But also about such huge issues that are grief and male emotions. You get to dive nose-first into a small local community, and then even deeper – into the friendship of 5 local lads, with the quintessential “Generic FC” jerseys on. The narrative is written flawlessly and lets you just spend just enough time with each of them and their thoughts for you to care about them and their well-being.
The first act was pure joy, friendship, and just a heck load of true British culture. Besides jokes that were all on-point, I had this weird feeling that anyone studying for the “Life in the UK” exam would pass with flying colours just based on watching this production. (That is if the questions were purely focused on the modern-day British culture and references) All this led to the huge unexpected event that happened and changed the lives of the 4 mates forever. Since then, the show turns takes a painful, serious turn, and keeps you on this balanced emotional ride until the very end.
It’s not an epic-proportion story about male superheroes or a complex, tiered one with tons of plot twists. Instead, I got completely stunned by the raw emotions of characters that usually just don’t get featured enough in the modern theatre.
Four young actors: Sam Kacher as Ryan, Emmanuel Olusanya as Jason, Henry Brackenridge as Andy and Fred Wardale as Deano, effortlessly achieve the technical work that takes quite an effort to perfect for any performer. They switch characters mid-sentence, and play in the round without the need for unnecessary props or complex stage design during the play. Their presence and energy is what really makes “Flashbang” the firecracker that is it.
There’s a big chunk of the show focused on overcoming the stigma of showcasing emotions if you are a cis hetero male. Especially if, just like “the “Flashbang” characters, you live in a small city where “nothing ever happens”. Ugh. I’m so mad at myself for liking this play so much. I still haven’t figured out what caused it – flawless staging and directing of young actors, or the script itself.
I had one more special moment in the show that personally was like a cherry on top. I dare you to point out to me a more seamless and fun interaction between the actors and the director/tech person than the one in “Flashbang”. A rarity in itself, a perfect little gem of a moment was entertaining and broke just another wall for the audience. Seriously, it was my little pearl of this show, as weird as it may sound.
To be fair, never in my wildest dreams have I expected a piece of such raw, masculine, emotional piece of theatre on a relaxed Friday evening. I came to see the show with no expectations. But whoa. Proforca Theatre Company delivered a fun, real love song dedicated to the modern British male and the concept of bromance. And they did it in a 5-star manner. It’s an absolute stunner of fringe productions in 2022 for me!
Flashbang by Proforca Theatre Company
Lion and Unicorn Theatre
Directed by David Brady
Sept 6th – 17th 2022
I attended the show on a PR invite. All opinions are my own.
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