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Here On The Flight Path - KADS

Reviewed by Paul Treasure


Terry Pratchett called it the “Catastrophe Curve”, the idea that things like theatre only actually happen due to the sheer number of things that amazingly fail to go wrong. Very occasionally we get to witness a production jump its tracks and start to hurtle into the abyss, only to be pulled back onto the curve by the skill and tenacity of its cast or crew. The opening night of KADS’ latest offering, Here on the Flight Path, was just such an experience for this reviewer. As the first act was about halfway through, all of a sudden the stage was plunged into darkness. A minute or two later the worker lights came on, and over the course of the next ten to fifteen minutes, the lights finally were restored to their proper state. Full marks to Lighting Designer Alex Tickner for getting the lights working again so quickly without having to stop the show, and full credit to Chris McCafferty and Sarah House, the actors onstage, for barrelling through their scenes and coping so well with what would have been an incredibly stressful moment, especially on Opening Night. Well done all!

Director Kirstie Francis has given us a very solid and enjoyable production, one that fills the KADS space well and is a very good choice for such an extremely intimate space. The play, by Canadian playwright Norm Foster, has been relocated to Melbourne, with other locations mentioned changed to suit. This did, however, set up a number of jarring inconsistencies where some North American terms were not changed to their Australian counterpart, like pick up instead of ute, or ranch rather than station. The set, two adjoining balconies in an apartment complex, was well designed and built by Karen Woodcock and her (unnamed) husband, with the very nice touch of the balcony railing starting on each side of the stage but then fading out to provide an unencumbered view of the stage.

Chris McCafferty, as John, has far and away the heaviest task in this play, appearing in all three acts and onstage practically the entire time. He gave an endearing performance, and played off all three of his fellow actors well, although there were occasional lapses in diction which means we lost some of his lines. John also has large sections where he addresses the audience, although it often felt that he was addressing his lines to the void in front of him, rather than engaging with the audience, so it did often feel he was just talking in our direction, rather than actually talking to us.

Sarah House gave a very confident rendition of Fay. Her pursuit of John over and around the balconies at the end of Act One is one of the highlights of the play. Susan Meikle has the difficult task of playing Angel, the least likeable and least believable of the three female characters. It is not until the latter half of her act, when her character takes a turn for the darker, that we get a chance to see more of what she is capable of, and her performance comes to life. The last of the three women we meet, Gwen, was given a masterful performance by Sharon Menzies. Easily the best-written and most believable of the three female characters, Sharon deftly trod a fine line between being continually on the point of tears, and moments of dark humour, that other actors would easily have missed.

Overall this is an entertaining play and has been given a solid and professional-looking production. It is well worth trekking up to Kalamunda to check it out.

Susan Meikle (Angel) and Chris McCafferty (John)

Reviewer Note: Paul has both performed and directed at Kalamunda Dramatic Society. Tickets for this review were provided by the theatre company.


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