Blowhole, written and performed by Benjamin Salmon, is a one-man show about a 20-something navigating his way around modern dating and hook-up culture in London. He’s too oddball for his white-collar friends and too hairy for anonymous men on the internet. It owes itself to shows such as Fleabag and Bridget Jones Diary but one that never reaches their heights of tension or comedy.
The protagonist, referred to in the show notes as ‘Him’, is an ever-optimistic presence, even when the characters around him are doing their best to beat him down. Salmon embodies all these characters with gusto and, for the most part, manages to create different characteristions for all of them – albeit that they are really never much more than stock characters like drunk aunty and posh gay guy.
There are basic explorations of dating apps, sexting, and working life in Blowhole but nothing to differentiate it from the many other quirky, hipster dramas that seem to have become pervasive in the last ten-years. Conversations around grief and virginity seek to elevate Blowhole to a more interesting narrative, but they feel like an afterthought and feel like a shoe-horned afterthought.
On the positive side, the sound and light design is technically impressive. The use of bedroom speakers on stage creates interesting layers of sound. It also is clear from the moments when Salmon shines that he is a great performer and, most probably, a great writer. But Blowhole is a limp, generic show that doesn't highlight Salmon's talents.