Blast Theory, Something American

Review in Issue 8-3 | Autumn 1996

The premise for Blast Theory’s Something American, an exploration of what America means to us, begins long before the actual show. It begins somewhere in the haze of childhood when cowboys and cops are cool and skyscrapers are dreams.

Apt then that this show should begin before the audience is even seated, as though it were an extension of our everyday experience. On entering the darkened theatre the audience were greeted with a massive screen showing looped film clips in what could be just another round in the bombardment of stateside culture. All the old favourite cliches are there – the cops, cowboys and cartoons, the wide open landscapes and towering cities. An America that lures and glitters.

This is a clever show. As we are battered by Americana at every level, so Blast Theory have gone truly multimedia – text animations, morphs and subliminal messages join with live performance, a club soundtrack and wacky remote viewing demonstrations to take us on this revealing journey. But the show isn’t merely an array of gadgets. Its power comes from the performances. The three leads, gently mesmeric in their deadpan and deliberately non-theatrical delivery, balance David Goodwin’s Neil Simonesque cop perfectly. Together they produce a show that highlights the allure of America in a typically quirky British manner. This was an interesting and adventurous piece – it was just a shame that it was so sparsely attended.

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Issue 8-3
p. 20