Reviews Shows

“Forget about the ozone, let me touch you in the Boyzone” | Len Blanco invites you to challenge the toxicity of your ’90s faves

A throwback to the nostalgic heyday of shaved chests and frosty tips, Len Blanco is an ex-boy band member reinventing himself in the post-#MeToo era.

Firing Blanks sees Len reintroducing himself as a solo artist, not only shaking off but publicly acknowledging the more problematic elements of his career history. He is now a feminist (soft of), vegan (some of the time) and ready to embrace a more progressive world.

The show features live lip syncing, the kind of choreography that is very reminiscent of the ’90s and even live vocals and acoustic guitar.

Firing Blanks is an amazing depiction and subsequent dissection of masculinity. Len carries himself fantastically and has the exact honeyed voice you’d expect from a post-boy band singer. It’s very easy to fall into the story, almost as if you have genuine childhood memories of a band called M4.

As a whole, the show forces you to rethink some of the things that were popular back in the day that, as a child perhaps, you took for granted as normal. Now, you have to wonder how your parents ever let you listen to the things that angel-faced, chocolate-voiced twenty-somethings used to croon at an audience that predominantly consisted of pre-teen girls.

Firing Blanks examines what is required for men to be feminists. Too often, the male feminist is all talk and no action, even talking themselves into believing that they’re a nice guy, rather than your common or garden Nice GuyTM. The show does a brilliant job of walking you through the mental gymnastics someone has to do in order to behave in a way that is in no uncertain terms unacceptable and still expect the world to accept their wokeness. Not only that, but to get offended when they are called out on their poor behaviour and to double down on it in reaction.

It’s an incredibly insightful show and performed perfectly by a drag king who has clearly put a lot of passion into crafting something provocative.

The show doesn’t leave you with any answers. It doesn’t have a solution to the ingrained issues that create this type of man. But it doesn’t really have to. Above anything else, it is a genuinely funny show – which is ultimately everything a comedy show needs to be. And the music is excellent, too.

4 stars

The show runs from August 1-24 at Just the Tonic at the Charteris Centre.

Book your tickets here: https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/len-blanco-firing-blancs

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