Edinburgh Festival Fringe theatre review: Flight Lessons, reviewed by The Scotsman’s Billy Barrett.
Intercultural identities and the strength of female bonds are the subject of this solo play written by Amy Jephta and performed by Saria Steyl, which captures the difficulties of maintaining long-distance connections over Skype and the often painful experience of settling into a new country.
A close childhood friendship is put to the test when Maya leaves her small hometown in South Africa for a job in London, leaving Anika behind to work at a supermarket checkout and spiral into mental collapse.
Steyl’s captivating performance cultivates a likeable and conspiratorial relationship with her audience, as she takes on both roles and switches between British and Afrikaans accents with ease. She develops a fully fleshed physicality for the two characters, flipping from one to the other as the years roll by. As the fragility of a once intensely co-dependent friendship slowly becomes apparent, she manages to tease out the lonely, yearning quality of Jephta’s script and its sense of the futility and hopelessness of being young and poor.
Director Lisa Cagnacci keeps the staging effectively simple with a single chair and minimal lighting, though the very deliberately emotive soundtrack can occasionally push the tone from moving to excessively sentimental.
The Space @ Jury’s Inn (Venue 260) until 22 August / listings
Published in The Scotsman on 20 August 2015
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