A new play from South African playwright Amy Jephta,
Flight Lessons serves as a reminder that there’s always something to laugh at in the middle of all the madness.
Jephta’s writing is the real treat here – with two characters suspended in quarter-life crises, the tone is perfect, full of frustration and bitter humour. Steel’s performance is bright and engaging, yet sharp and realistic, and encompasses all the threads in Jephta’s story with ease. The darker moments give Flight Lessons its substance, but ultimately it’s the funnier moments that carry it through. It’s impossible not to fall in love with the girls’ flippancy – nothing gets past them.
Physically, Steel is a little too self-aware, relying on over-the-top movements and gestures to fill the space by herself. Both characters move similarly – whether this is a lapse in direction or an indication of the similarities in character, it’s hard to tell. Whilst the latter would be clever, either way it makes for a confusing grasp of the narrative, which jumps through time as well as space. The single chair used as the set is jarring: Steel seems dependent on it, only bursting away for another dramatic exclamation before coiling in again. For a play so focused on using place to construct an identity, it’s interesting that Flight Lessons has avoided using any set at all.
For anyone who’s ever felt lost, even when they’re right at home, Flight Lessons serves as a reminder that there’s always something to laugh at in the middle of all the madness.