Every journey has a beginning and every family has a past. In each there are forgotten chapters.
As the mist clears and wistful music fades the cast wait amongst suitcases and maps, ready to take us on a flight of discovery. Stride forward James, stepping up to the microphone to record a book based on his personal fascination with the race to the skies and, in particular those pioneering early aviatrix who flew in the face of both death and tradition.
The chapters are interspersed with the present day flight of his partner Anna as she travels to Kenya to face the past – Kitty, a dead grandmother she never knew and a family history only hinted at in yellowed letters.
As James recounts the struggles of the ground-breaking women pilots and Anna wrestles with the frustrations of modern travel, their worlds comes to life around them. Bursting from a choreographed whirl of suitcases the past meets present as they become everything from rediscovered memories to landscapes, aircraft, hotel rooms and a myriad unexpected uses along the way. History and geography are stitched together by model aircraft as the buzz around the stage, maps spread out like the earth below their wheels.
Amidst missed mobile phone calls the world slows to that of an earlier age of communication, that of glamorous adventure when, for the brave like the footloose Kitty, life as well as travel could offer infinite possibilities.
There is a high standard of acting throughout, particularly by Nick Pitt and Ellie Simpson in the lead roles. The work relies a little too much on its visual nature and the plot could be strengthened with more focus on the characters and family history. That said, if you have not witnessed this form of physical theatre before you will be blown away.
Amelia Earhart (the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic) said “The lure of flying is the lure of beauty” and that’s the charm here too – it’s simply beautiful theatre.
6-27 (not 17, 24) August, 6pm