The Lion and Unicorn Theatre
6th – 17th Sep 2022

noun: flashbang

1. a grenade that produces a bright flash and a loud noise so as to stun or disorient people without causing serious injury; a stun grenade.

Ryan and his gang were going to be mates forever.

Living their lives in the same cycle as everyone else in a little town 20 miles from anywhere that mattered.

Living for the next night out. Living for the weekend.

Getting into and out of trouble. Work. Pub. Sleep. Repeat.

Ryan and his gang have seen it all, done it all, lived it all. The nights they wished they could remember and the mornings after they’d rather forget.

Ryan and his gang were going to be mates forever.

But then came the night when everything changed.

Proforça Theatre Company returns with “Flashbang” – an exuberant, explosive and gut-punching rollercoaster ride through the ties that bind five best mates together, a world that revolves around a town where nothing ever happens, and what happens to those friends when that world gets blown apart.”

Review by Richard Lambert, 1 Star

The pub feels disconnected from the theatre. Asking if a starter or side dish could be ordered at 7pm in time before the show receives “I don’t know and can’t guarantee”. You have to ask the bar staff to check with the kitchen who say “of course”. You’ll then be asked “but when do you need to eat by” and you’ll have to tell the couldn’t-care-less bar staff that the show starts at 7.30pm. It’s not good. And unfortunately happens all too often when a theatre is a separate business from the pub and the bar staff aren’t interested and frankly don’t give a damm!

Having worked in many pub theatres in my time I’m acutely aware of the challenges facing any theatre trying to survive in hostile environments!

FLASHBANG is a theatrical piece that has little story to support 90 minutes. The 1st 40 minutes sets the camaradery of a 5 piece gang, but we already know from the opening video photo of 5 and the 4 actors on stage that there is someone missing. 40 minutes in and the gang are called to the high-rise flat of Mikey and they share the joy that Mikey has a scan of his unborn child. Their joy at this news feels unrealistic. Are 4 mates unlaterally in rapture when a mate says he got his girlfriend pregnant? Hmmm. Not so sure about that. In the celebrations, the print of the scan image is blown over the balcony and leaning out to try to catch it, Mikey falls to his death. Again, not so sure about that either.

What then follows is a 50 minute memorial and obituary of what could have been, including a burial of what can only be described as an ironing board under a black sheet. Without any set except 4 folding metal chairs and a white painted square on the otherwise Flints black floor, the budget hasn’t broke the bank.

There is video to punctuate the proceedings but the fairly predictable content comes from a front projector so it regularly splays across the actors’ faces. The lighting often leaves the actors in the dark.

The costumes are equally good value – T-shirts in the early part and a white shirt and tie for the funeral. Trousers and trainers remain, regardless of whether in a nightclub, kicking a can around, or at a funeral. Unfortunately I couldn’t always understand what the actors were saying as there was a tendency to gabble which might have been down to press night nerves.

The younger members of the audience did seem to enjoy and laugh at FLASHBANG so please don’t let my review put anyone off. Go see it and decide for yourselves. A review is after all someone’s personal opinion. But, to be honest, it’s very difficult to invest emotionally in someone’s death unless you have got to know them – and Mikey is only ever a person who’s talked about. If he’d been one of the actors and we’d got to know him better I might have felt something when he fell to his death. I very sadly struggled to find the emotional impact of this production.


WRITTEN BY: James Lewis

CAST: Sam Kacher (Ryan / Ryan), Emmanuel Olusanya (Ryan / Jason), Henry Brackenridge (Ryan / Andy), Fred Wardale (Ryan / Deano)

DIRECTED BY: David Brady


RUNNING TIME: 1 Hour 15 Mins (No Interval)

INSTAGRAM: @proforcatheatre

WEBSITE: www.proforca.co.uk


Tickets £14 | Concessions £12