by Rachael Boulton.
The Finborough Theatre, 118 Finborough Road, London SW10 9ED to 20 November 2018.
Sun & Mon 7.3opm Tues 2pm.
Runs 80 mins No interval.
TICKETS: 01223 357 851.
Review: William Russell 5 November
Gloriously anarchic romp to relish
Set in South Wales as the last factory in town is closing down some of the workers embark on a scheme to fly in an apparently home made place to South America and embark on a new life just as their ancestors did in Patagonia. The result is gloriously freewheeling, very funny and thought provoking about the decline of the industries in those valleys once dominated by coal.
Director Rachael Boulton has drilled her cast to within an inch of their lives and they perform some amazingly co-ordinated physical routines as they practice flying the plane, dealing with emergencies like a crash landing or too much weight and having to throw things out the back, the unexplained suspicious luggage, as well as all kinds of surprises they expect to encounter on the way not to mention the fact that one of the passengers is a wimp. But her words are good too – Mary’s long speeches conjure up a wickedly observed way of life – except that the South Wales dialect is none too easy on the ear so not everything comes across as well as the text suggests it should do.
The four strong cast play it for all it is worth with Gwenillian Higginson as Mary coping brilliantly with some lengthy speeches outlining life as the person in charge of the workforce in that about to shut down garment factory and the staff problems she has to resolve.
As Ray, the man who dreams up the escape to Patagonia plan in a homemade plane fuelled with petrol and equipped with goods from Lidl, Liam Tobin is convincingly bonkers, and there are equally rib tickling performances from Karim Bedda as Timmy, the silent violin playing fellow passenger who plays them along the way to the stars, and Berwyn Pearce as Gareth, who is short of a Welsh cake or two, as Ray’s sidekick who is prone to anxiety attacks.
It is a mad, mad world in which anything can happen; one conjured up on a platform stage with a few boxes to serve as the plane and virtually nothing else. If they just toned down those valley vowels it would be even better than it already is.
By the end it has escalated into a glorious world of fantasy, except, of course, that the decline of the valleys is really no laughing matter.
Mary: Gwenllian Higgenson.
Ray: Liam Tobin.
Gareth: Berwyn Pearce.
Timmy: Karim Bedda.
Understudy: Mike Humphries.
Director: Rachael Boulton.
Movement Director. Emma Vickery.
Composer: David Grubb.
Set & Costume Designer: Anna Kelsey.
Lighting Designer: Katy Morison.