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Review: FLIGHTPATH, Jack Studio Theatre

Scottish sketch show splutters a little as it gets off the ground

Review: FLIGHTPATH, Jack Studio Theatre Review: FLIGHTPATH, Jack Studio Theatre One can easily discern the influences on Scottish company, Brief Palava's, furious comedy, Flightpath. There's the Edinburgh Fringe for its pace and sketch stylings, The High Life for some of its more surreal moments and the mysterious Falling Man from the World Trade Center for the unknown body coming out of the sky. There's also Teri Garr's magnificent German accent from Young Frankenstein and the entire history of aviation from the Wright Brothers onwards mixed in there too. Like the old Sabena flights I would regularly take to Brussels nearly 30 years ago, we take off, cruise and land in just 70 minutes.

James Burke (also on writing credits), Kelly Davie and Derek Jeck are our crew and they create a whole range of characters as a collage of scenes builds into a whole that partly honours and partly satirises an industry that we usually take for granted, if we're not complaining about its emissions, customer service or comfort. It made me think of those eerily quiet days of the first lockdown, when the skies had no contrails. Like many, I found London's air to be cleaner and clearer, but we lost something - man's conquering of the heavens was laid low, the possibility to girdle the Earth in a day lost temporarily. The world felt simultaneously larger and smaller.

The show doesn't quite succeed. It's too bitty to plot a path for its recurring characters through its recurring themes, it doesn't bite hard enough for the satire to explore its comic potential fully and we're not properly introduced to the heroes of the show (I had to google pioneering Scottish aviator and aeroplane engineer, Winifred Drinkwater, on the bus home). It's as if the propellor needs to be set in motion again every time the scene shifts.

Despite those flaws, the show gets its laughs and the three performers have charm to spare in winning us over to their relentless repartee. Nevertheless, one can't help thinking that teasing out fewer storylines and providing a little more context would serve the enthusiastic cast better.

Flightpath at the Jack Studio Theatre until 28 May

Photo credit: Jasmine Aurora

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