Departures

Through a series of encounters and conversations in Airport waiting lounges, the storyline of John Godber’s Departures moves from gentle comedy to drama as the characters’ frustrations and desires slowly defeat them. Jim (Jonathon Taylor) is the managing director of an unspecified firm. He spends his life in airports, despite his terror of flying. We watch as his desire for the supple young PA, Zoë (a coy and intelligent Gabrielle Choo) grows; we watch as his relationship with the wife becomes increasingly strained. These two central relationships are surrounded by a host of other well executed characters, each with their own goals; Eva the Czech hooker, Steve, Jim’s philandering financial director, Annie, Jim’s daughter in love with a man older than her father.The young cast navigate their way through the nuances of the script and handle both the comedy and the drama with an impressive maturity. Taylor plays the wearied Jim with astonishing maturity, and manages to show the successive shifts in his character without being too obvious or descending into mid-life crisis stereotype. His character carries the entire play - in such a wordy play the challenge is to control both the language and emotion of the scene. There are quite a few stumbles and garbling of lines, but for the most part Taylor manages this excellently. The scenes with Choo are well-balanced: Choo manages to be alluring without being slutty, bringing out the quiet intelligence of the character. With a bare set and minimal costumes, the show depends heavily on its cast to carry the script, which for the most part is successful - though scenes with Eva (Sarah Callaghan) are slightly on the pantomime side of things. Excellently garbled airport announcements give the setting an air of authenticity. This is a strong production from a young cast.

Reviews by Louisa-Claire Dunnigan

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The Blurb

360 Theatre Company debuts at the Fringe with this John Godber comedy. Set in a series of airport lounges, two executives embark on a journey of self-discovery encountering delays, danger and temptation. Funny, witty and not to be missed.

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