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Published on September 9th, 2009 | by darraghdoyle


Review: THE BLANCH at ABSOLUT Fringe – bizarre but very funny

What it’s called: THE BLANCH
Where it is: Filmbase, Temple Bar, Dublin 2 and The Axis, Ballymun
When it is: Tonight to Saturday September 12 at 7pm and September 16 to 19 at the Axis at 8pm
How long it is: 60 minutes
How much it is: €16 or €13

What they say:

Welcome to Blanchardstown Shopping Centre, where you can always be sure of a bargain …especially when you use your 5-finger discount.

Outsize Orlagh is after a designer fit and Enda is shopping for the latest thing but the kids are driving them mad. Jacintha and Dijon shop for free, while the Cavan farmers are after some ham. Security has his eye on everyone, but the economy is crumbling, credit cards are crunching, and everyone’s going out of control.

A band of Bouffons (outcast clowns from god-knows-where) take over the theatre to present a phantasmagorical escalator ride through the contemporary suburban shopping experience. Their anarchic show, based on the ‘real-life’ Blanchardstown Centre, features live music and ruthless comedy which is not for children or the faint hearted!

What I say:

Well, being a resident in Blanchardstown for the last two years, this wasn’t too unexpected. It was however very, very funny.

THE BLANCH is a show satirising the people in the Blanchardstown Shopping Centre. Brought to us by Carpet Theatre, we’re presented with a bizarre collection of characters- the Blanch scobies, the southsiders who got lost on their way to IKEA, the security guard and the musicians, two grotesque characters in the background but still very much part of the show.

It’s a strange one, this show. Though I laughed an awful lot at the characterisation, at the accents and at the brilliant actors, I could never pin it down into being one thing – something perhaps that the show itself intentionally does. We flit from scene to scene and story to story at the blink of an eye and we’re never allowed to feel comfortable – there’s a lot of physical violence here that, though somewhat shocking, cannot help but compel you to laugh, even in shock.

There’s a lot to THE BLANCH, devised by Ciarán Taylor and the company. All the music is performed live by Jack Cawley and Kim Porcelli and costume designer Miriam Duffy really deserves to be congratulated on the outlandish and weird costumes.

However, it’s the actors – Bryan Burroughs, Amy Conroy and Jaimie Carswell who make the show – they have intensely physical parts in huge fat suits and they really pull it all together just by sheer skill and a sense of mischief and fun.

I started reading Niamh’s review with considerable trepidation, considering she’s (a) a born and bred local, and (b) had never been to a Fringe show before and I was delighted to see that she didn’t hate it – in fact she’s right about the violence and the need to tighten things up a bit – but hey, that’s what Fringe is all about – trying new things.

I’d definitely recommend THE BLANCH to people looking for something a bit different but not completely out there. You’ll recognise a lot of the characters and judging by the general audience reaction on Monday night, will laugh a lot. I know I did. Give it a go. Let us know what you think.

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About the Author

Blogger, event addict and fan of street and performance art. You can contact me directly at darraghdoyle[at]gmail[dot]com or @darraghdoyle on twitter.

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