Brief Palava bring their surreal comedy Flightpath to Brockley’s Jack Studio Theatre
“What the f*ck is this Timmy?”
Glasgow-based Brief Palava describe their play Flightpath as a surreal comedy and I’m glad they were able to come up with something as the show really does defy easy categorisation. The general theme is the world of aviation but the format is a kaleidoscope of sketches through which we’re constantly flipping, approaching stories of the skies from any number of angles.
From Orville and Wilbur Wright to primary school teachers, WWII vets to investigative journalists, a company of three cycle through these varying vignettes with a great fluidity and a charming confidence that carries the audience along with it. And on a stripped-back stage with just a handful of props, Tomaz Krajnc’s direction is admirably assured at keeping that flow going.
And with such a wide range of characters and settings to play with, James Burke (also the show’s writer), Kelly Davie and Derek Jeck revel in the opportunities presented to them. Constantly switching effortlessly between age, gender and seriousness, there’s character here as well as caricature as friends bicker about who to throw out of a hot air balloon, daughters challenge parental gender expectations and grandchildren quiz their grandmothers.
At just 70 minutes, this is very much a short-haul flight but one which tackles a fair amount of baggage in an interesting way. And leaning into the absurdist style is a smart move as it allows the production to be this effectively nimble without leaving you feel short-changed. A shout-out too to the Jack Studio for programming British voices from well outside the M25.