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Flynch: Looking

Friday, 26 August, 2011

Worth catching this sea monster

Edinburgh – Zoo – 5-29 August 2011 – 2015 (1hr)

The eponymous character emerges wishing the audience a good evening, and then proceeds to make his way to find each and every one of them to shake their hands.

While James Flynch is welcoming the assembled crowd who have effectively come to witness his misery, a reading of the contents of the final letter left by his ex-girfriend Lydia can be heard by the audience but seemingly not by Flynch  himself. As he clambers over the seating to shake a hand the phrase, “You’re ridiculous and you don’t even know it” seems to ring particularly true.

Even though the show is about a man’s descent into the pain surrounding a relationship breakdown it contains humour. James Flynch decides to get away from it and emerges in a loud, bright orange shirt although the holiday sense isn’t all there – it’s rather awkwardly tucked in below the waist.

This is another visual depiction of what James Flynch is – a man who doesn’t fit in easily. It’s an engaging and gently subtle performance by Ben Teare. The quirky way in which Flynch’s escape – a seaside hotel – is presented is a touch of genius. A cleaner moves her mop balletically around while a man becomes a hotelier who only kicks into life when a potential customer rings the bell which sits in his stationary hand.

The minimal use of set and props leaves the performers themselves to create both physical and emotional environments. Beds, phones and lamps are constructed and brought to life as James Flynch tries to find peace during his seaside break and the representation of a dream sequence is particularly effective. It’s not a complex storyline and the strength of this production is the well thought out staging and the effective creation of the emotional experience James Flynch is undergoing.

The sound of the sea laces the score, which is a combination of original work and recognisable tunes including Patsy Cline’s ‘Crazy’. As James Flynch repeatedly tries to regain contact with Lydia the variety of other characters can’t seem to distract him, even Gigi, the flirty fellow guest who dances with him. When the news comes that Lydia has a new boyfriend, James Flynch may well find some form of peace after all. The dubious ending may be happy, it may be sad, but what it does present is a company who have a great deal of promise and whose future work will be worth catching.

Performers: Sacha Plaige, George Ramsay, Jenny Swingler, Ben Teare, Daniel Wilcox.

Score by Christopher Duncan

© Chandrika Chevli 2011

Reviewed on Wednesday August 24th, Zoo

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