The Wright Brothers

David Hastings
Oxford Playhouse
Pleasance Courtyard

This company had a global success with their witty exploration of the space race, One Small Step.

Now, they travel back in time to the turn of the last century to look at a similar adventure, the attempts of man to imitate his feathered friends.

In fact, the focus rests on two men: tall, melancholy Wilbur Wright, played by Timothy Allsop and his cheerier, more grounded younger brother, Robin Hemmings's Orville.

For just under an hour, aided by some vintage footage and a plane consisting of a piece of wood laid on tea chests, they try to instil in us the thrill and science of manned flight.

It builds through disaster after disaster to the happiest of endings, as manned flight extends to almost one minute and a place in the history books.

This is all both educational and intriguing but loses the charm and intimacy of One Small Step by playing in a large, end-on theatre.

Reviewer: Philip Fisher