Bang Shoot Blast

Come As Soon As You Hear presents 'Bang Shoot Blast' by Karl Watson.

Come As Soon As You Hear presents 'Bang Shoot Blast' by Karl Watson.

Are movies heaping unrealistic expectations on real life romances? That is the question asked by Karl Watson's Bang Shoot Blast, which ran recently at the Back Loft. Interweaving scenes from classic movie romances with the first great dalliances of his young characters, it used choral work, party games and musical interludes to break down the fourth wall and encouraged the house to ruminate on their own early experiences via a series of plot forwarding audience participation numbers. It was silly, funny and a tad histrionic, but it was also warm, engaging and inquisitive of that loving feeling.

Issues of monogamy, trust and regret were examined as three separate couples – gay, bi-sexual and straight – combated the fickle demands of peer pressure through a series of scenarios that captured the bruises left behind by Cupid's arrows. The characters inhabit a world where the everyday struggles of youth are paramount, displaying the hysterical mindset of those unencumbered by responsibility.

Although the characters are selfish, self-absorbed and more than a little annoying, the cast bestowed them with a humanity that it was hard not to feel for. Watson manages to capture the paradox of youth, where there is all this possibility yet also a very real sense of time slipping away and each decision made can lead to heartache later on. The fervor for real romance to be like reel romances was mirrored in the over the top recreations of classic movie scenes where the ramped up performances of Stefanie Preissner and Ben Plunkett Reynolds underscored how ridiculous such acts are when taken out of the cinematic realm.

While Watson took a 'fun, fun, fun' approach to the staging of the piece it did mean a lot of the questions raised got lost in the melee. Sitting, in the round, in comfortable armchairs, we were wined, dined and ordered to pop party poppers on command. They confided in us, danced with us and took our picture. All this ensured that the characters became more personable but it also meant that the issues at the heart of the piece never got fleshed out.

When a closeted homosexual struggles to find the words to tell his best friend that he is in love with him, the audience was asked to suggest some words, leading to a letter filled with phrases like “nice heiney” and “willy kisses” - which undermined the sadness felt when, moments earlier, the same character was forced to imagine what it would be like to watch said friend kiss another man. The piece also featured two Lesbian characters “who can’t even buy drink-legally”, yet we never get any indication as to how their experience may differ from their straight counterparts.

There is some nice suggestive imagery, where food and drink is used to express how messy human relationships can be and a genuinely affecting monologue where Watson shows skill in tying a warped take on a nightmarish one night stand in with his central theme of our want for the hot, Hollywood sex we’re led to believe the world is having.

If Watson took a longer look at the issues he raised, rather than falling back on party games, sing songs and muddled, impetuous endings Bang Shoot Blast would be a considered portrait of the struggles that come with falling in love for the first time. As it stands, it was fun and involving but unenlightening.

Caomhan Keane is the Senior Theatre Writer at

  • Review
  • Theatre

Bang Shoot Blast by Karl Watson

14 - 19 May, 2011

Produced by Come As Soon As You Hear
In The Back Loft

Written & Directed by Karl Watson

Dramaturg: Dan Colley

With: Etan Kinsella McLennan, Brianne Fitzpatrick, Connor Hillman, Lloyd Hamilton, Stefanie Preissner and Ben Plunkett Reynolds