There is no doubt that airline environments are interesting: meeting new faces each day; a plethora of destinations to go to; so the concept is a platform for a potentially intriguing and highly entertaining show. Set around the sunny Mediterranean Islands we see Icarus Royal Airlines flight attendant Richenda Spierings’ journey in finding love and attempting to become a pilot. Supported by her chief trolley-dolly Taylor, this comedic show illustrates the rivalry between airlines and the pressure this low budget airline faces from the upmarket and classy Fantasy Airlines.
The show definitely does not breathe sun and unfortunately I was left somewhat disappointed. The acting is consistent with stand out performances from Jessica Sherman (Richenda), Ralph Bogard (Taylor) and Anne Smith (Olivia/News Reporter) and the vocals are on point but the cast are let down by the set and sound design.
Low budget airline feel definitely comes across in the production design and sound design. The production design by Mike Lees is very minimalistic, not of a high quality and mimics that of an amateur show – the set looks as if it has been painted by school children. This low budget feel continued in the sound design (Mark Owens). The music was not live as the cast were singing along to a pre-recorded – and very poor quality – backing track. The lacking budget was also displayed in the cast sharing one handheld microphone which looked unprofessional, messy and unorganised when passing it around the stage to other characters. When it wasn’t being used no one had microphones at all which at times made it hard to hear the characters lines and some songs.
The choreography was well executed but at times seemed chaotic with the 13 strong cast being tight for space on the small stage when dancing. An overabundance of musical numbers created a very blurred and disjointed feel taking away from the plot and coming across as an attempt to mask the lacking quality in direction.
Mile High the Musical is an interesting concept but fails to pull through despite admirable effort from the cast. It needs to go back to the drawing board and be reproduced with a higher budget if it is to be successful.