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Flashbang | The Lion and Unicorn Theatre

Proforca Theatre Company’s latest offering, Flashbang, is an engaging four-hander that takes us into the heart of Ryan and his “gang”, “crew” or “group” as they navigate friendship, loss and a flashbang that rocks their world.

The standout element of Flashbang is the energetic dynamic between the actors who complete the ensemble cast. Appropriately sporting red football t-shirts that read “GENERIC FC”, the team of actors (Nick Hardie, Benjamin Booth-Bennett, Ben Borthwick and Fred Wardale) balance each other perfectly and it can feel a little like watching a football match as they bounce and play off each other’s energies effortlessly.

It is rare that a show manages to capture both the expansive imaginations of the audience whilst maintaining a firm intimacy with the audience. The direction of David Brady, (with movement direction from Lucy Glassbrook) expands and contracts the space seamlessly, transporting us to locations from a club to a single shower cubicle while never forgetting to bring the audience along for the journey. The direction is imaginative and slick, working in perfect unison with the quartet of actors.

The play focuses on the bond of these four young men and highlights a relatively unexplored topic of male friendship groups. We have numerous examples that uphold and honour female friendships (Sex and the City, Thelma & Louise etc) and it is arguably one of the most successful dynamics both in society and media, yet male friendship dynamics are not as prevalent.

Flashbang seems to hint at what Shakespeare would be like, (if Shakespeare went to Wetherspoons and played Fifa) as James Lewis’ script weaves deeply affecting emotive monologues that are almost spoken-word in nature with fast-paced and electric ensemble scenes.

The writing balances entertaining comedy and deep tragedy, never letting one overtake completely and brings into sharp focus male-mental health and friendship. Indeed, Flashbang has the makings of a modern-day classic, as Lewis’ play balances the comedic bravado of this male “matey” dynamic with real and raw vulnerability.

Flashbang is playing at The Lion and the Unicorn Theatre until the 9th March. For more tickets and information, you can follow the link here.


AD | gifted tickets in return for an honest review | photography by Ross Kernahan


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