The Flag

Director: Declan Recks

Actors: Simone Kirby, Pat Shortt, Moe Dunford

Release Date: Friday 14th October 2016

Genre(s): Factual

Running time: TBC minutes

Shortt plays sad sack Harry Hambridge, a London-based builder living alone in a dingy apartment. Harry returns home for his father's funeral and, rummaging through his father’s effects, learns that his grandfather was the man who placed the tricolour atop the GPO in 1916. He drunkenly proclaims to the listening village that he will retrieve said flag from the British even though they claim that all flags were returned after the War of Independence. Unperturbed, Harry – along with pal Dunford, former singing partner Kirby, Brian Gleeson and more – put together a plan to storm the barracks the flag is rumoured to be housed…

Playing a lot softer than the last Recks-Eugene O'Brien collaboration, the solid 2008 midlands-set drama Eden, The Flag is aimed at an audience who enjoyed Ealing Comedies first time around but wished they were infused with lashings of Paddywackery. Wanting to be nothing more than a frothy knockabout comedy caper The Flag might succeed if approached on solely those terms but the catalyst that kick starts the plot isn't the strongest. Okay, so unemployed Frank And Walters fan Harry has floundered ever since he gave up singing and his family, according to Gary Lydon's cranky bar owner, were never fit for anything, so he's looking for some purpose in life. But The Flag struggles to marry Harry's current plight with his passion to redeem the family name: this desire, this determination to gain respect for his family doesn't crop up again and so the madcap mission loses its meaning.

But it’s arguable that that is being unnecessarily pedantic because The Flag exists purely for a laugh and while a younger audience might struggle with the broad comedy strokes Shortt fans will enjoy the comedian's antics and his shrug-of-the-shoulders approach to life. Fired? Ara. Pet hamster dead? Ah, sure. Mugged? Grand job. And they will be sure to be sure guffaw at the sight of him pegging it down London streets in his boxers. He's a good egg here but yet manages to infuse the typical Shortt chirpiness with a hint of melancholy just under the surface (he loved Kirby but never told her). He's backed by Moe Dunford, a jockey who fell from a horse and hasn't had the courage to, eh, get back on, whose winning smile and can-do attitude keeps things upbeat once The Flag gets into the messy business of the romance subplot.