Mission Drift

Traverse 1

Mission Drift sees the TEAM back on their favourite subject, the history and myth of America.

On this occasion, as the company is promoted to the Traverse's main stage, they trace their topic in typically impressionistic fashion from the early Dutch settlers through to the days when global domination has given way to theme parks and Chapter 11 bankruptcies.

The main themes are illuminated through two pairings and Heather Christian's spunky, ethereal Miss Atomic.

Joris and Catalina, played by Brian Hastert and Libby King, meet each other as 14-year-olds in the 1640s. From the Netherlands, they travel to America to seek fame and fortune.

We are able to follow their efforts from the earliest days through the centuries of fighting and robbing the natives to nuclear testing and almost up to the present day, the impending launch of The Ark, the ultimate in American excess.

They end up in Las Vegas, which is the home of Amber Gray's Joan, a waitress working in and then fired from Joris and Catalina's casino. The local can still remember the city when it was barely a town and yearns for the former tranquillity that has been lost to mammon and neon.

Her escape route might be the native American Chris, Mikaal Sulaiman. They seem to have much in common but, while his inheritance is a natural rootlessness, her instinct is to stay put.

Eventually, the two couples interact, throwing some light on the effects of capitalism and American excess

Rachel Chavkin's energetic production features a significant amount of rock and soul music, often led by Miss Christian who accompanies her earthy' soulful singing on a white piano.

As so often with this company, their meaning is buried far beneath the surface. However, with a diffuse script penned by no fewer than 14 people and Heather Christian's music plus dance and movement, there is a great deal to enjoy, even if you don't always follow the story through all of its twists and turns.

Reviewer: Philip Fisher

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