Captain Ferguson's School for Balloon Warfare

Isaac Rathbone

Oracle Theatre Inc

Assembly Roxy

From 02 August 2012 to 27 August 2012

Rating: ***

Review by Robin Strapp

Based on real events, David Nelson gives a crafted performance as Captain Ferguson who is determined to prove to his generals that there is a future in the use of manned balloons for aerial surveillance as well as covert bombing missions during World War I

It’s skillfully performed with the audience ‘enlisted’ as recruits in the balloon training school as we learn the art of navigation, astronomy, communication and sewing—a chuckle from me landed me in hot water and my punishment was to be responsible for repairs. This degree of audience participation was somewhat embarrassing but very clever and involved us more in the process.

There are some convincing props and exceedingly clever projections onto a sepia-coloured screen including conversations with three generals and a moving flight towards the stars as Ferguson single-handedly seeks to gather reconnaissance concerning the enemy beyond the ridge that ends in disaster.

It’s told at a cracking pace with sincerity and conviction by a talented storyteller and is delightful.