City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

Mission of Flowers Review

By Kenneth Scott - Posted on 07 August 2010

Mission of Flowers
Show details
CW Productions
Running time: 
Damien Lay (director), Gerry Greenland (writer)
Leof Kingsford-Smith

Beneath the wing of his crashed aircraft, Bill Lancaster shelters from the Sahara sun and fills in his logbook – and his past.

This one-man show, based on a true story and actual logbook entries, centres round the early days of aviation, when everyone was out to seize records and fame. None more so than Lancaster, who views pilots as heroes who rise above the ordinary and the mundane.

The story is told as a series of flashbacks, each measured out along with sips from his precious water supply. It becomes clear that his fear of becoming some “suburban vegetable” is greater than that of dying and it is this obsession that has driven him from his wife into the arms of Jessie “Chubbie” Miller. With her help his passions take flight.

As the sun beats down and a vulture circles overhead he awaits rescue and recounts his earlier record-breaking attempts. Ironically the glory that he has sought from these has not only eluded him but instead fallen on Chubbie as co-pilot and later pilot in her own right. As fortunes take a downward spiral he embarks on a series of flights that will flirt with danger and leave him a man betrayed, accused of murder.

It’s a production that has received many plaudits and awards worldwide and it may be that the hyperbole of “gripping, compelling, exciting …” has raised expectations sky high. Although Leof Kingsford-Smith puts over an accomplished performance, the boyishly enthusiastic and single-minded Lancaster is a bit wearing and his connection to people and events seldom allow them to lift off from the pages of his notebook. For all the play’s drama it needs, well – more drama really. This isn’t helped by some technical aspects. While the simple stage setting should be effective, some sound, lighting and blocking are poor. The back projection has the pause / play bar visible on screen, hampering what would otherwise be evocative historic images.

Some of these will no doubt be improved upon during the run but, as seen, it was a Mission only partially successful.

5-30 (not 17) August 2010, 2.30pm

Ticket prices
£9.50 (£8.50)