Flying Solo

Aelish Michael
24:7 Theatre Festival
Pure, Manchester

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Libby's philandering husband has recently died, and she has decided to move into his old shed on his allotment where he used to keep his pigeons. Her older friend George, who owns a neighbouring allotment, keeps a worried eye on her and perhaps has other desires for her too, while her son Daniel, who has recently changed universities to move back home, tries to force her to move back home, despite having a secret of his own there.

The situation is an interesting one, with Libby trying to free herself to 'fly solo' after being a wife and mother for years by moving into a pigeon shed, and it starts well enough. However it later gets bogged down with repetitive arguments that never go anywhere. There is an interesting device in which, signalled by a lighting change, one of the characters goes into a brief flashback or conversation with their dead partner with whichever actor is on stage playing the partner, which usually works quite well once you get used to it but sometimes kills the pace later on. The characters all have too much past baggage to fully explore, and talk in a far more detailed and open way than is necessary or natural. The result is that towards the end it seems to really flag as there is lots of talk and little action.

Richard Sails is excellent as George and manages to pull off the flashback character changes most effectively. Joan McGee holds the part of Libby together for most of the time, and Daniel Stewart is a little hesitant as Daniel.

Reviewer: David Chadderton

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