A Play, A Pie and A Pint, 140 Million Miles, Traverse, Review

Rating (out of 5)
Show details
Òran Mór and presented by Traverse Theatre in association with Tobacco Factory Theatres, Bristol
Adam Peck (writer), Nik Partridge (director), Ruby Spencer Hugh (designer), Keegan Curran (sound designer), Paul Wyse (lighting designer)
Rosie Mason (Dawn), Darren Seed (Neil), Vincenzo Pellegrino (voice)
Running time

How far would you go to start a new life? Crossing continents is scary enough but a journey in a capsule across galaxies is a bigger step altogether.

Mission Control, in the form of a remote voice that appears and disappears through the lighting of red and green light bulbs, is seeking volunteers to be the first humans to live on Mars. Thirty somethings Neil and Dawn Sharman reckon they fit the bill. They are healthy, young enough, never have arguments, are disillusioned with life in Britain and, tired of sharing a home with Dawn’s Mum, need a place to live. With the promise of live TV coverage of their voyage, celebrity status comes with the package so this venture looks like an all- round dream come true for these naïve childhood sweethearts.

The play is a vehicle for the pointing up of terrestrial problems like the fear of ‘other’, the desire to leave a mark, the impact of unemployment, immigration, childlessness and lack of affordable housing. It is energetically played by the two actors dressed in boiler suit style blue dungarees with the cheery eagerness of a children’s show. As they go through their space training of press ups and jumps, their big smiley thumbs ups manage to cancel out potential empathy over their situation when they slowly realise that their hopes are dashed.

During the journey’s significant length of 9 months, the reality that the couple’s underlying problems, shown by some barely indicated time switch scenes across the piece, can travel with them wherever they flee is evident. Even the chance of meeting of pop heroine Cher disappears down a black hole.

At a time when millions of people are taking enormous risks to travel colossal distances to make a new life by heading for what for them is equally unknown territory, this play stands as a less that satisfying metaphor for the lengths people are prepared to go to do just that.

Tue 6 – Sat 10 Oct, 1pm
Fri 9 Oct, 1pm & 7pm age recommend 14+