In John O’Donovan’s Flights Barry (Colin Campbell) Cusack (Conner Madden) and Pa (Rhys Dunlop) are three lads who meet annually, and have done so for the past 17 years to commemorate and celebrate the death of their friend Liam, who died at the age of seventeen. Their idea of remembrance is playing drinking games, darts and taking drugs, writes Susan Hallissey.
As they mention in the play Liam’s been dead as long as he was alive and this gives way to the realisation of how much their lives have changed – or not as the case may be.
Barry works at the airport – his girlfriend earning more than him and moving to London. Cusack is the reluctantly responsible new father, and Pa the waster of the three: no fixed abode, no job but a good supply of drugs and lively one liners.
I was thrown at first by the accents and in particular Cusack’s, which was strange as in the Second Act his monologue voice was much more soothing. Talking of monologues there are three of them, each character telling Liam’s story. However, each one of them could have been shaved substantially, taking some time off this piece.
There were some smart observations and plenty of funny moments, the ‘Pro Bono’s’ in Barry’s monologue and the use of the Irish vernacular, bringing particular memories back to me.
Expecting a bigger turn out than just the three of them, the lads are left to ponder on life, where it’s gone, where it’s going. Escaping their hometown of Ennis is a big part of the drunken talk, with Barry referring to the amount of flights leaving Shannon Airport, who has managed to get away, and the disappointment of those who return. Life changing secrets are revealed and I was left wondering about Liam’s actions on the night of his death – along with a baffled Pa.
The sound and lighting both deserve a shout – the set a battered looking, cave type of hut, lent itself well to various swathes of light.
I enjoyed the ramblings of the three disillusioned lads but would have enjoyed it a whole lot more if it hadn’t been so long. Maybe a shorter flight would have taken us just as far!
Flights is on at Omnibus Theatre, 1 Clapham Common North Side, Clapham Town, London SW4 0QW until February 29th. Times: Tues – Sat 7.30pm; Sun 4pm. Admission: £16, £10. Phone: 0207 498 4699
Photos: Set Murray