Edinburgh Festival Fringe theatre review: Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, reviewed by The Scotsman’s Billy Barrett.
Rebecca Crookshank’s amusing and affecting solo show about her time serving in the RAF is a highly personal, rather than consciously political, take on life as a woman in the Air Force.
The airwoman-turned-actor catalogues karaoke in the NAAFI and sanitary pads strapped to shoulders to stop her backpack rubbing, as well as confronting issues around mental health and abuse in the armed forces.
It’s perfectly programmed, location-wise – the corrugated iron-lined arches of the Underbelly Cowgate feel just like aircraft hangars – and passionately performed, as Crookshank takes on a cast of compelling, if slightly cartoonish, characters to recount a career that gave her confidence and perseverance, as well as some isolating and harrowing experiences.
Working with director and dramaturg Jessica Beck, Crookshank blends live performance with projected footage of her own intimate recordings, showing us proud parents watching her passing-out parade, before more disturbing clips of casual sexism from male colleagues.
These increasingly disturbing episodes are frankly and bravely performed, though Crookshank’s attention never quite mounts to a proper institutional critique, and it feels like she’s pulling back from the depth of her anger and the RAF’s failure to respond in an effort to end on a positive note.
Underbelly Cowgate (Venue 61) Until 30 August / listings