Flashback, Matthews Yard – Review

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For men 45-years-old and younger, the biggest single cause of death isn’t ‘natural causes’ but suicide. Why? Is it because men are supposed to keep their feelings in check and not admit to feelings of loneliness and ‘failure’? Written and directed by Amy Toledano and Jamal Chong, Flashback takes an ‘Everyman’ approach to the subject. Utilising choreographed physical movement extensively, the cast take it in turns to represent ‘the Man’ and his significant others.

From his earliest days in childhood, he has learnt not to cry and departmentalises his feelings. It’s telling that while his first love remembers a sublime childhood memory, he’s dealing with damage control from day one – along with an early visit in the family from death. Many of the events depicted are rites of passage-oriented, originating from without and within…

Would I have chosen to put on a show in this format? Perhaps not. By focusing on a few of the causes, more time could be spent on making ‘the Man’ a specific character with specific problems. Flashback works as an ‘overview’ – touching on a great many things, but doesn’t go into things in too much depth. That limits the amount of empathy the audience can generate towards the characters. While the subjects raised aren’t in themselves automatic signs of suicidal tendencies, they certainly portray many scenarios that make men unhappy over time.

© Michael Davis 2017

three-half-stars

Cast: Kara Chamberlain, Brian Chandrabrose, Jamal Chong, Rebecca Matheson, Tom McAdam, Anthony Portsmouth, Amy Toledano, Tyrone Williams

Flashback runs at Theatre Utopia, (1 Matthews Yard, off Surrey Street Market, Croydon, CR0 1FF) until 25th June. (Up until 24th June – 7.30pm/matinees on 24th and 25th June – 3pm).

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