There’s a saying that if a couple can dance together, they can do anything together. In the case of the middle aged married couple in Anita Vettesse’s latest play, they can barely manage to breath together.
Pete (David McGowan) is a rig worker who has taken early retiral and is looking forward to a new life in Tuscany. While he is out in the Italian sun to sign the final document on their chosen dream villa, his wife Claire (Angela Darcy) has missed yet another flight to join him. Delaying tactics are in order for Pete as Claire pays acute attention to the fears that have been spiralling inside her since their teenage children have flown the nest, triggering her panic attacks. These appear projected dramatically on the screen on stage in the form of old flying adverts, disasters and films of other phobics.
Using calming techniques, a mentor (or a charlatan, as Pete would describe him) and signing up for a Flying Without Fear course, Claire is managing her panic attacks with as much progress as trying to fit an oversized duvet into a too small storage bag. Has the woman never heard of trains? Yes, she has but turns out she also has a tunnel phobia. No wonder she feels her life shrinking.
The couple’s diametrically opposed views of how to deal with this new phase in their lives as they discover what is left in their relationship when they only have each other is at the crux of this funny yet deadly serious play. One can let go and look ahead; the other is mired in the past and in the neediness of control.
The play takes some big leaps in the time scale but Vettesse’s fast paced and naturalistic writing, delivered authentically by both actors, sees this through. Darcy’s expression of her character’s stress is palpable as her anxiety reaches crescendo levels with the surfacing of long held resentments and frustrations when she delivers a speech following the test flight that held the sweetener of a ‘3 course lunch and a 40- minute flight over Tiree’ to induce Pete to accompany her.
Irving Berlin’s Blue Skies accompanies Pete and Claire as they step together on what may or may not be a fresh journey together.
Tue 24 – Sat 28 Oct, 1pm; Fri 27 Oct, 7pm age recommend 14+