Passe Partout, Progress in Flying Machines

Review in Issue 14-1 | Spring 2002

Directed by Paul King, who previously directed the comedian Garth Merenghi, this show steers a simple flightpath between whimsical comedy and storytelling. From tales of magnificent men in their flying machines attempting to defy gravity and reach to the heavens there emerges a love story of a man pursuing a woman seemingly lost to the angels – she simply evaporated into thin air.

The theme seems to be that man will never give up on his quest to succeed, no matter how ludicrous the idea. Alice Lowe, David Mitchell and Robert Webb excellently perform the lunacy of noblemen and monks striving to build successful air machines. In its comedy it soars amongst the clouds, swooping from the sublime to the ridiculous, especially Lowe’s portrayal of a monkey coerced into the cockpit of another doomed aircraft.

However, the love story seems to be flying in a different direction to the tales of mad flights of fancy. By injecting a narrative of a lovelorn traveller chasing the ghost of his missing girlfriend we are never quite sure whether the piece becomes a meditation on loss or valiant stupidity. How long do you cling to the memory of the lover who has left you? Sparsely staged around a bunk bed, the trio performs with perfect comic timing. Despite the incongruous coupling of a love story to the comic material the performers remain true to the emotional journey of the characters, heightening the pathos of a story essentially about man’s folly in flight.

Presenting Artists
Presenting Venue
Date Seen
  1. Nov 2001

This article in the magazine

Issue 14-1
p. 28