This camp and endearing new musical by Jake Brunger and Pippa Cleary transports us (and hopefully our luggage) into the world of cabin crews and pilots, a world of vibrant purple polyester, perma-tans and fixed grins.
We meet a gaggle of characters including a jaded pilot, frustrated co-pilot, a sex starved trolley dolly from the valleys, a homesick purser, a nervous new girl and a sexually rampant male flying mattress. We never really escape the cliché trap but their romances, yearnings and bitchy squabbles are nonetheless very entertaining.
The strong all-singing, all-dancing cast includes Mark Evans, who some will remember as a runner-up in the Eurovision TV show Your Country Needs You. He plays gay, but straight acting Richard and has a pleasant voice and easy, natural style as he fends off the advances of Ryan played to the camp hilt by John McManus who makes John Inman look butch! The two pilots (straight of course) are played by the charming and engaging Tim Driesen as Paul and Philip Riley who brings a welcome edge and aggression to grumpy Jim.
The team is led by the excellent Laura Scott as Nicola the slightly older purser who pines for her boyfriend and life on the ground. Her crew is completed by Danielle Cross as the ditzy blonde Melanie, Emily Sidonie as the voracious Julia with a nice sense of comedy, but it’s Amy Coombes as Hayley who stops the show with her solo number recalling her love affairs in the Valleys with Barry, Gary and even Sally.
The melodic songs are catchy and witty and Candida Caldicot leads an excellent four piece band. In my view this team should write and sing our next Eurovision entry, it’s just a pity that the cabin crew image was wasted two years ago.
Director and choreographer Luke Sheppard stages the show well, with a clever set by Mike Lees and effective lighting by Edmund Sutton, but I felt that the acting was too cartoon-like at times; although this is a send up we need to believe in the characters and, more importantly, to care about them. There are flashes of truth and poignancy but these are sacrificed to the overall ‘tits and teeth’ high energy style of the show.
This shiny, happy, high flying show deserves a long haul and should become a cult must see, especially for any cabin crew out there!
- Keith Myers