EIF 2017: Flight, Church Hill Theatre & Studio, Review

Rating (out of 5)
Show info
Vox Motus in association with Beacon Arts Centre
Caroline Brothers (writer), Oliver Emanuel (adaptor), Candice Edmunds, Jamie Harrison (directors), Jamie Harrison and Rebecca Hamilton (designers), Simon Wilkinson (lighting designer), Mark Melville (composer and sound designer), Kenneth Macleod (storyboard artist), Sav Scatola (character artist)
Nalini Chetty (Kabir), Farshid Rokey (Aryan), Emun Elliott (narrator), Maryam Hamidi, Robert Jack, Rosalind Sydney, Waleed Akhtar, Adura Odashile (ensemble)
Running time

Welcome aboard a flight like no other. Yes, there’s a ticket, there’s a check in process, there’s instructions on procedures, there’s a waiting area where you sit with our fellow travellers, but mercifully there the similarity to our normal concept of the flight experience ends.

Instead, at graded times audience members, who’ve already been allocated to a group, are escorted to watch and listen to a unique spectacle with a set of headphones in an individual booth.

What they witness is the incredible creation of a story of the two -year journey over 4000km by two young Afghan boys, Kabir and Aryan, who are escaping the Taliban with ‘nothing in their pockets but dreams’ and the mantra of ‘Kabul, Tehran, Istanbul, Athens, Rome, Paris, London’.

This World Premiere of Flight from the Glasgow theatre company Vox Motus that specialises in visual theatre, is inspired by the fictional work Hinterland by Australian born journalist Caroline Brothers who based it on interviews with real young refugees and their co- workers.

The technically brilliant and utterly enveloping and immersive installation takes the form of a diorama in a carousel. To a brilliantly chimed soundscape, a series of static figures appear in unbelievably detailed miniature tableaux, channelling the ‘aesthetic of a graphic novel’ and brought to life by the voices of a fine cast of actors. It is simple yet elaborate, involving immaculate timing and co-ordination behind the scenes. It holds memories of NTS’ The Tin Forest scaled down many times and with echoes of Hokusai’s tiny rowing figures in his Under the Wave of Kanagawa (The Great Wave) .

The boys’ vulnerability, desperation and sense of betrayal as they encounter some human behaviour at its worst is evident even in this tiny scale. So, it has to be said that it seems strange that the only one set of figures is singled out to be symbolically inhuman, and portrayed as squawking gulls while other villains retain their human face. The lack of concession to translation of any foreign languages being spoken to the boys allows the viewer to share their sense of alienation and frustration.

While it is not exactly a happy ending, this memorable piece has a finale of soaring piano notes and the positive message - ‘Don’t let fear turn your compass’, something we could all take a lesson from. Don’t miss this unique theatrical experience!

4 - 27 August 2017 various times