Theatre Review: From the Air, Oran Mor, Glasgow

Angela Darcy as Claire in From the Air
Angela Darcy as Claire in From the Air
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Her youth has gone, her twin son and daughter have just flown the nest; and suddenly, just when she and her husband Pete were about to start enjoying life, forty-something Claire can’t get on a plane. She’s never really liked flying, but this is different; total panic, hideous visions of planes in free-fall and shattered bodies, and endless panicky phone-calls to her daughter before every failed flight, telling her what to do in the event of the inevitable catastrophe.

From the Air ***

Oran Mor, Glasgow

This is the starting-point for the latest Play, Pie And Pint lunchtime drama from actor and writer Anita Vettesse; and it will be of huge interest to all those who have been affected by fear of flying, one of the most common of phobias, as Claire – played by a hilarious and poignant Angela Darcy – sets off for a day course in how to overcome the fear, with Pete in reluctant support.

The play’s problem, though, is that it’s not really about fear of flying at all, but about the underlying cracks in Claire and Pete’s marriage. There’s something slightly off-kilter about a play whose central motif - expressed in some powerful visual images, in Davey Anderson’s production – is neither its subject, nor really a metaphor for its subject, but just a symptom of the real problem. Yet with both Angela Darcy and David McGowan working up to some fierce marital truth-telling in the final showdown, this remains a gripping show; even if – in the end – a slightly unsatisfying one.

*Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh, until 28 October